The launch comes against a background, for the first time in its history, of restaurant closures and falling profits as the western world extends its relationship with all things healthy.
So far, that has not included McDonald's, despite moves to introduce healthy items such as salads and fruit to its fat-heavy menus. Last month, McDonald's enlisted the support of one of the UK's leading nutritionists, Anita Bean, and said it was going to create its own "five a day" healthy eating logo as it continues its fightback against allegations that it is fuelling dietary problems.
The restaurant chain has also found itself rapped by the World Health Organisation after it suggested it was working with the global lobbying body to educate consumers about nutrition and fitness.
McDonald's said that the new brand direction will be the strategic "glue" for its upcoming worldwide marketing and advertising campaigns, which it hopes will revitalise its business around the world.
The new strapline and campaign, announced at a worldwide marketing conference in Chicago, was been developed by Munich-based Omnicom advertising agency Heye & Partner, which has a long time association with McDonald's.
Heye & Partner came up with the theme after the fast food giant launched a creative "competition of ideas" at a meeting in February that involved a number of McDonald's global advertising agencies.
Charlie Bell, McDonald's president and chief operating officer, said that the changes represent much more than a theme or a creative execution.
"What we are putting together is a whole lot more than a theme or a creative execution. 'I'm lovin' it' will be a unifying element for the global creative approach this fall that connects with customers as only McDonald's can," Bell said.
The new theme will now be implemented by McDonald's ad agencies around the world, including Leo Burnett in London and DDB in the US, which will implement their own style and approach in local markets.
Larry Light, McDonald's global chief marketing officer, said: "There are no agency winners or losers. McDonald's is committed to a multi-agency approach. The real winner is the McDonald's system as our new borderless approach to marketing enables us to take advantage of the depth of creativity and talent found within all of our agencies."
Light added: "We put a stake in the ground in February, challenging our creative forces to deliver best-in-class creative. They are delivering. The upcoming campaigns will be relevant, hip, energetic and powerful. Our advertising will connect to customers, especially young adults and moms and kids."
Heye & Partner has been McDonald's Germany's advertising partner for the past 32 years. It is a sister agency to DDB Worldwide.
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