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02/09/03 . n/a . Reuters . USA  
Justin Timberlake Teams Up with McDonald's  
CHICAGO (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp. on Tuesday said its latest advertising will feature a partnership with pop star Justin Timberlake, a move designed to connect with youthful customers.  

The partnership comes as the world's largest fast-food company launches the first global ad campaign in its 50-year history, dubbed "I'm lovin' it," at a time when it faces stiff competition and needs its ad investments to pay off.

McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, hired German advertising agency Heye and Partners to lead the creative work. The agency, part of Omnicom Group Inc.'s DDB unit, kicks off the campaign on Tuesday in Munich.

The "I'm lovin' it" theme has five common television spots that will air this month in many of the 118 countries where McDonald's operates. Each local market will customize the commercials with its own language and local shots of customers.

"I'm lovin' it" follows McDonald's U.S. "Smile" campaign, which experts said had lukewarm market impact. Recent menu additions like premium salads featuring Newsman's Own dressing linked to actor Paul Newman and McGriddles breakfast sandwiches have done more to boost sales, helping the company post significant U.S. second-quarter sales improvement.

Timberlake, a former member of the popular U.S. band 'N Sync (news - web sites) who launched a solo career late last year, will record the vocals for several of McDonald's "I'm lovin' it" commercials, the company said in a statement.

He will also appear in cameo roles throughout the new campaign. McDonald's plans to sponsor the 35-city Justin Timberlake 2003 European tour, which begins in Germany in November.

Company officials have not disclosed how much McDonald's is spending on the new campaign. In 2002, McDonald's spent about $548.2 million worth of television, print and outdoor advertising, according to trade publication Advertising Age.  
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