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McDonald's to release global TV ad in India by September end

NEW DELHI: As a part of its global initiative, McDonald's India is gearing up to launch its new `I am loving it' television commercial towards the end of September.

Though the company hasn't announced any official date, the campaign is expected to break only after 25 September, going by what company executives in India opine.

"We can't disclose anything at the moment. We are still working out a date to interact with media. That (media briefing) should be between 22 and 25 September. The interaction with media will be done three-four days before the formal launch of the campaign," said a senior executive of McDonald India, who is part of the marketing team.

The ups and downs of everyday life are depicted in fun and relevant ways in McDonald's new "i'm lovin' it" campaign

To be launched in more than 100 countries, the campaign has been first released in Germany. The US launch is scheduled for 29 September.

According to information available with indiantelevision.com, partly provided by the company and its advertising agency Mudra Communications, the campaign will be "localised" (for India), but to what extent is not known.

"Yes, there will be inputs from the (Indian ad) agency. But what portion of global campaign would be retained cannot be shared at the moment," a McDonald source said.

According to the industry estimates, McDonald's advertising spend is estimated to be Rs 150 million a year.

It is still not clear the medium that would be used by McDonald in India predominately to carry across the message, as company executives are absolutely tightlipped about giving out any details.

The "i'm lovin' it" commercials reflect the lifestyles and attitudes of today's consumers

According to a Reuters report originating out of Chicago, the key to this campaign are five new cutting-edge, high-energy television commercials that reflect the lifestyles and attitudes of today's customers and culture.

"We will communicate a consistent brand message while at the same time capturing the spirit, music and flavor of each local country," Reuters quoted Larry Light, McDonald's executive vice-president and global chief marketing officer, as saying.

Timberlake, reviews the vocals he recorded for the ?i?m lovin? it? commercials

Pop star Justin Timberlake who recently won the 2003 triple-MTV Video Music Award winner has been roped in by McDonalds for its "I'm lovin' it" campaign because of his ?clat reputation with the youth. Timberlake, a former member of the popular US band 'N Sync who launched a solo career late last year, will record the vocals for several of McDonald's "I'm lovin' it" commercials according to a company statement.

The five new commercials have been shot in 12 languages and a variety of locations, including the Czech Republic, Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia. They depict what consumers from around the world feel about the brand and the way McDonald's fits into their lives. The spots include three brand versions (young adult, families and general), one featuring McDonald's World Famous Fries and one starring Ronald McDonald.

In the Indian context, the advertising professionals here feel that the competitors need to work on the timing of new campaigns and, if possible, should egg themselves on to target Indian consumers in a better manner through its offerings and communication strategies.

"Consumer don't differentiate in terms of global or local campaigns. The idea is to be better than your competitors. Yes, the timing is important and sooner or later, one should come out with a better work to combat the competition," says Lowe's national creative director R Balakrishnan.

Maximise managing director Bashab Sarkar says, "For a category (fast food segment), which hasn't got any history of reaction and counter-reaction, there shouldn't be any immediate action. Also, against a global campaign, it is not advisable to react immediately."

On the fast food category, Balakrishnan says, "Fast food as a category is completely different because one can't replace Indian food altogether. Though fast food chains have started serving the Indian palate with so many variants, I would say it will take a long time for such brands to match their performance in the West."

Balakrishnan further adds, "Also, more than anything else, you need to serve a quality product. If tomorrow Starbuck comes to India, it will have to match Barista in terms of offering and experience. That way McDonald's positioning is different from Domino's and Pizza Hut. So, such chains are still growing and not only communication, but overall offering needs to be analyzed."

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