September 03, 2003 01:00 PM

Ronald McDonald, move over. Justin Timberlake is McDonald’s’ man now. The pop singer has signed a deal with the fast food chain to star in a global advertising campaign aimed at re-connecting the flagging business with its core group of younger customers.

Reuters reports that the Timberlake, 22, will sing in a series of new English-language ad spots in an international campaign for McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast-food company has announced.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company did not disclose details of his salary, though executives did say that Timberlake’s contract includes a McDonald’s sponsorship of his super-sized, 35-country tour.

“We are spending a great deal,” Larry Light, McDonald’s chief marketing officer, told reporters on a conference call from Munich, Germany, where McDonald’s has launched the campaign, Reuters reports. It is the first global marketing effort in the company’s 50-year history.

TV spots will begin to air at various dates globally as this month continues. U.S. airdates are scheduled to kick off Sept. 29, said McDonald’s. The New York Post reports that the ads’ tagline is, “I’m lovin’ it.”

Despite the familiarity of its golden arches worldwide, McDonald’s could be facing an uphill battle, advertising analysts tell Reuters. Apparently, few American brands have successfully carried out worldwide campaigns, due to existing cultural differences.

Still, says Lawrence McNaughton, managing director of the consultant firm CoreBrand, “Let’s see how it works.”

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