McDonald’s will debut its first ever global marketing initiative in Europe almost a month before it hits the US.

The much-hyped I’m Lovin’ It campaign will launch in Europe on September 2 before reaching the burger behemoth’s native America on September 29.

Slated to run at least two years, ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ is the result of a four-month brainstorming by McDonald’s and its assorted agencies. The winning strategy is the work of Heye & Partners in Unterhaching, Germany (an agency owned by Omnicom Group and affiliated with DDB Worldwide) [WAMN: 12-Jun-03].

The decision to break the campaign in Europe first reflects what executives have termed a “borderless” marketing strategy.

“Let's be frank, we are an American icon,” declared president/chief operating officer Charlie Bell. “But what we are is ‘multi-local’. We’re getting rid of the NIH factor, meaning ‘not invented here’.”

Heye & Partners is putting together five TV commercials to kick off the campaign. These spots – directed by London-based James Brown, known for his Nike and Ikea ads – will run in 10 languages and be filmed in such exotic locations as Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Singapore and Johannesburg. Further commercials using the same theme will be created by regional agencies, such as US incumbents DDB Worldwide and Leo Burnett Worldwide.

McDonald’s has high hopes for ‘I’m Lovin’ It’. Senior vp for global brand business Dean Barrett says the fast food giant wants the tagline to cross into the realms of pop culture and be embraced by sports, fashion, music and entertainment.

As well as advertising, McDonald’s is planning a worldwide online campaign. This will consist of websites managed regionally to cater for the varying levels of technological sophistication around the globe.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff