McDonald’s’ Marketing Exec, Music Agency, & Jingle Engineer Agree Pusha T Didn’t Write “I’m Lovin’ It” Jingle

Last month in an interview with Hot 97’s Ebro Darden, music and advertising exec Steven Stoute implied that Pusha T once took a break from selling controlled substances to slang burgers for McDonald’s (not sure which is worse) by writing the famous “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle. (“That’s crazy that Pusha T wrote the song to McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin’ It,'” is what he said.) Though he’s clearly rapping a verse on an extended version of the jingle in this Mickey D’s commercial, Push never confirmed nor denied the rumors. He only took to Twitter to brag and joke about the check he got for his involvement.

It turns out he was not responsible for penning the jingle after all. According to Pitchfork, in 2003 McDonald’s held an international competition among 14 of the world’s biggest ad agencies to win their business, and the small German firm of Heye & Partner won. They tapped fellow German music house Mona Davis Music, whose president, Tom Batoy, got the inspiration for the famous “ba da ba ba ba” when he heard a mystery backup vocalist hum it in the studio. Batoy and his partner Franco Tortora are listed as songwriters as far as organizations like ASCAP which track credits for royalty purposes are concerned.

With McDonald’s’ seemingly endless amount of money at their disposal, the jingle turned into a full-blown song that was set to show up on Justin Timberlake’s second solo release with Heye’s creative director Andreas Forberger and Pharrell Williams as additional listed songwriters. But since it already had so much exposure from the commercial spots, he decided to release “I’m Lovin’ It” as a single on the advice of Stoute.

Stoute had introduced Heye to Timberlake and suggested that they “reverse engineer” the jingle, releasing it as a single before incorporating it into the official ad campaign. McDonald’s then introduced the campaign with five commercials. One of them featured a cameo appearance from Clipse, who had been brought in by Pharrell because they were signed to his Star Trak Entertainment label. Mona Davis’ Batoy says that Pusha T had no involvement in the writing process. Danny Saber, who worked as an engineer on the recording sessions, tells Pitchfork “for people to come crawling out of the woodwork and trying to claim it, it’s just fucking ridiculous. It’s bullshit.” McDonald’s chief marketing executive at the time, Larry Light, confirms Saber and Batoy’s account.

McDonald’s apparently spent $1.37 billion on advertising in the year the campaign launched. I’d be much more interested to find out how much everybody got paid than who did what. Lunch money indeed.