McDonald’s call-and-response jingle for its “I’m lovin’ it” campaign is possibly the most iconic jingle of the past decade. Even more than 12 years after its 2003 launch, if you walk down the street singing “ba da ba ba bah,” someone will probably subconsciously sing back, “I’m lovin’ it.”
But who exactly coined this uber-infective earworm has always been a bit of a mystery. As some might not know, and others may try to forget, the campaign launched with a full-length version of the song featuring Justin Timberlake on lead vocals and produced by The Neptunes. On official pressings, the song has four “written by” credits: The Neptune’s Pharrell Williams, Tom Batoy, Andreas Forberger and Franco Tortora. As the site Songfacts points out, those latter three people are “film/TV composers, and are not known associates with either Timberlake or The Neptunes. This leads us to believe that the song samples something they wrote.”
That leaves one well-known name clearly in the writer’s spot – at least when it comes to the Timberlake song: Pharrell. During an interview with Steve Stoute, CEO of marketing firm Translation, the company that worked with McDonald’s on “I’m lovin’ it,” Hot97 DJ Ebro Darde mentioned Pharrell. Stoute wasn’t having it though.