McDonald’s first global campaign slogan in Brazil was not a literal translation, and that’s why it was a success

A good translation captures the spirit of a text without slavishly following it to the letter. It captures the energy and texture and voice of the source text and replicates them in the translation, drawing on all the resources of the target language. A good translation conveys what is written between the lines, and this is what happened in 2003. The campaign with the slogan “I’m lovin‘ it” was launched in Munich, Germany. This was McDonalds’ first global campaign and was aimed at retaining their customers around the world and define a brand positioning. And here is what happened:


For the ones that are not familiar with the subject “how-to-make-advertising”, here’s some basic concepts, explained in a dynamic way: Brand positioning is how consumers see a particular product. It’s advertisers’ responsibility to ensure that a brand’s positioning is positive. To make this happen, marketing strategies and slogans are developed. If we consider that an advertising campaign is a narrative (a story) we can consider that the slogan is the outcome, the “gran finale”!

Usually it is necessary to write dozens or hundreds of slogans to reach a good result. To be creative in writing advertisers must really master a language to produce inventive and original texts. So, for a global campaign, after writing hundreds of slogans trying to find the best outcome, it’s also necessary to appropriately translate them into multiple languages. After all, slogans’ translations are not always literal.

By the time when the campaign was launched there were many questions about its effectiveness. Could a global slogan take account of different aspects of different cultures? Today we know that yes, the campaign is effective. However, “Amo muito tudo isso”, McDonalds’ slogan in Brazil, overstepped McDonalds’ advertising and ended up as “albums’ titles” in social media profiles! The Brazilian version is not a literal translation* of “I’m lovin’ it”, the correct would be “estou amando isso”. But would it have been as popular as “Amo muito tudo isso (love very much all this)?” Maybe not.

The slogan is not translated into Danish, Swedish or Italian. In these countries the slogan is in English, in some cases it’s because the translations do not have the same meaning of the original phrase. Or simply because in these countries the number of people who speak English is bigger if compared to other countries.

Below you can see a few more McDonalds’s slogan translations:

Spanish: Me encanta;

French: C’est tout ce que j’aime;
German: Ich liebe es;
Swahili: Ninaipenda;
вот что я люблю;
Turkish: işte bunu seviyorum.

8 Traits of a Great Translator
  • Linguistic Expertise. …
  • Appreciation for Other Cultures. …
  • Awareness of the Evolution of Language. …
  • Area of Specialization. …
  • Attention to Detail. …
  • Ability to Accept Criticism. …
  • Time Management Skills. …
  • Passion for Language.

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