Twitterverse was NOT ‘Lovin’ McDonald’s latest marketing catchphrase by Beth Kowitt @FortuneMagazine November 12, 2014, 6:27 AM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons When word leaked out that McDonald’s had trademarked the phrase (and, well, equation), “‘Lovin > Hatin’”, the reaction on social media was swift and harsh. Though the fast-food chain insisted that the new wording was never intended to replace the company’s long-standing catchphrase, “I’m lovin’ it,” the Wall Street Journal reported it would debut on New Year’s Day and even get an airing in the Super Bowl—claims the company dismissed as “highly speculative and premature.” Still, the masses erupted with derision. “Lovin’ > Hatin’ –Nietzsche,” tweeted Chris Remo to his 36,000 followers. "Lovin' > Hatin'" –Nietzsche — Chris Remo (@chrisremo) November 5, 2014 “McDonalds changes their slogan to ‘Lovin’ > Hatin’ in an attempt to be hip, yet still forces its employees to wear visors,” quipped Canadian radio host Tyler Middleton.” McDonalds changes their slogan to "Lovin’ > Hatin’" in an attempt to be hip, yet still forces its employees to wear visors. — Tyler Middleton (@TylerOnAir) November 7, 2014 Branding experts merely shook their head. “I think the phrase created a certain amount of confusion,” says Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. “It’s not certain what McDonald’s is trying to communicate.” And ambiguity is not a good thing for McDonald’s, as evidenced by a tweet from ESPNW columnist and on-camera host Sarah Spain: While lovin’ may indeed be greater than hatin’, “Hatin’ Beats Heart Disease.” That may be true, but Hatin' Beats Heart Disease RT @TheAVClub McDonald’s new slogan is “Lovin’ Beats Hatin’” http://t.co/Mkt6InLos6 — Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) October 28, 2014 For now, it doesn’t look as if this mathematical theorem will make it into the pantheon of McDonald’s slogans, alongside the “Two all- beef patties” jingle and “You Deserve a Break Today.” Once a phrase gets tainted, says Calkins, “it can spoil the water before you even roll it out.” This story is from the December 1, 2014 issue of Fortune.