McDonalds’s formed a global music partnership with MTV Networks on Thursday, demonstrating the ability of the fast-food industry to reach young people without running advertisements.
The collaboration will start with a 30-minute monthly programme called MTV Advance Warning that will feature new musical talent combined with McDonald’s advertising imagery.
The logo for the programme will include the McDonald’s name, its famous golden arches and the phrase “I’m lovin’ it” - the slogan that has been a feature of the company’s global marketing since September 2003.
The effort comes amid threats from regulators in places such as the European Union to impose tougher restrictions on food advertising because of concerns that commercials are contributing to rising levels of obesity in children.
Companies such as McDonald’s have tried to address such concerns by offering healthier foods and by running advertisements that stress healthy living - such as one showing Ronald McDonald, its mascot, playing football with children and working out.
Larry Light, McDonald’s global chief marketing officer, said the MTV partnership was part of a broader effort by his company to find new means and different media to promote its brand, in addition to traditional television advertising.
He said this new form of multi-dimensional marketing was intended to convey more complex messages than those featured in traditional 30-second television commercials.
As part of its “I’m lovin’ it” campaign, McDonald’s has been particularly keen to use music, sports, fashion and entertainment to promote its brand. This year, for example, McDonald’s will sponsor a global tour by Destiny’s Child, the pop singing group, that will be called Destiny Fulfilled and lovin’ it.
“Music is the one universal language,” Light said.
MTV Advance Warning has already aired in the US and Latin America.
Local versions of the programme will begin broadcasting on February 19 in Europe and on February 21 in Asia.
Light said the partnership with MTV, which could involve other manifestations, was the next step in McDonald’s first global marketing campaign - “I’m lovin’ in”.
The campaign was based on advertisements developed by Heye & Partner, of Unterhaching, Germany.
It features what McDonald’s calls an audio trademark, which it renders in print as “ba-da-ba-ba-ba”.