Douglas Freeland, BA’80, spent more than two decades leading successful marketing initiatives for McDonald’s USA.
During his tenure there, he oversaw the Monopoly at McDonald’s promotion, executive directed the McDonald’s All American Games, and created and executive produced the McDonald’s Live concert series.
As executive director of the McDonald’s All American Games, Freeland helped raise $2.5 million for charity. The McDonald’s Live concert series he created featured emerging artists, including Billboard No. 1 artists Ne-Yo, Sean Kingston, One Republic, and Keri Hilson, and won an Ex-Award for best multi-venue consumer event.
Freeland also led McDonald’s NASCAR sponsorship of Chip Ganassi Racing and negotiated a 360-degree partnership with producer and artist Timbaland, which earned him a platinum record for his role as executive producer for the summer ad campaign featuring the hit single “The Way I Are.”
Freeland collaborated with many other celebrities during his time at McDonald’s as well, including LeBron James, Jay Leno, Regis Philbin, Deion Sanders, Jason Derulo, and Stephen A. Smith. He also partnered with top brands including ESPN, the NFL, Coca-Cola, Disney, Live Nation, and Sony PlayStation.
Freeland began his career at Chicago ad agencies Foote, Cone & Belding and J. Walter Thompson, developing media plans for clients such as S.C. Johnson, Kraft, McDonnell Douglas, Northern Telecom, and Northern Trust Bank. From there, he spent a short time at both the National Black Network and Brainstorm Communications before landing at the Quaker Oats Company for several years. Freeland then began his McDonald’s career in 1995, where he stayed until his 2016 retirement.
He is the recipient of a gold REGGIE award from the Promotions Marketing Association of America, was named to Event Marketer magazine’s marketing Dream Team, and was recognized as Promo Magazine’s Idea Maker of the Year.
Freeland created the Douglas L. Freeland Public Relations Scholarship at The Media School to give back to IU and to pay it forward to future students. The scholarship benefits undergraduate students majoring in journalism with a concentration in public relations who have engaged in civil rights volunteering or activism.
The service component of the scholarship reflects Freeland’s personal community involvement. Freeland tutored students in the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago from 1991-2000 and formerly served on the Chicago Sports Commission.
Freeland serves on the advisory board of the executive dean of IU’s College of Arts and Sciences and is currently chair of the advisory board. He also received one of IU’s Bicentennial Medals in 2019 to recognize his contributions to the university.
Although officially retired, Freeland launched The Weekly Opine, a blog about politics, sports, and current events, in 2017.