McDonalds Twitter campaign goes terribly wrong

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Looking back on the recent Twitter campaign from McDonalds, it’s perhaps easy to point the finger at where the company went wrong. The lure of social media is considerable for big brands; marketing consultants constantly evangelise about the benefits of reaching out to customers through avenues such as Facebook and Twitter, and often these campaigns reap great rewards for companies large and small. But sometimes, these campaigns can take on a life of their own, leaving the companies wishing they’d stuck to handing out flyers instead.

It started a few days ago, on 18 January, when McDonalds embarked on a feel-good Twitter campaign, using the hashtag #MeetTheFarmers.

It was hoped that the tweets would highlight the company’s commitment to sourcing fresh vegetables and high-quality meats. Later on the same day, McDonalds started using the second of the campaign’s hashtags, #McDStories.  

With that, McDonalds had inadvertently equipped web users with all the ammunition they needed to destroy the campaign. It didn’t take long for things to go wrong, as users began to tell their own stories – and these were not heartwarming tales of good times under the golden arches.

Within minutes, Twitter was filling fast with stories that Ronald McDonald would rather not hear, and even today – days after the launch of the campaign – the hashtag is alive and well with thousands of such stories being shared across the interwebs.





This selection of tweets is, of course, just the tip of a very big iceberg. Check out the #McDStories hashtag on Twitter to see some more of the valuable McNuggets of feedback that McDonalds has been getting on its campaign.

It took just two hours after McDonalds posted its first #McDStories tweet for the company to accept that things had completely spiralled out of control, beyond the point of no return. Rick Wion, social media director for McDonalds spoke with to acknowledge the problems of the campaign: “Within an hour, we saw that it wasn’t going as planned. It was negative enough that we set about a change of course.”

Unfortunately, by that point, the hashtag had been well and truly hijacked by the internet at large, repurposed by web users keen to have their say about the fast-food chain. As Wion himself pointed out, it’s a reality of any social media campaign that “fans and detractors will chime in”, but McDonalds was evidently unprepared for the extent of the negative backlash that the campaign unleashed upon them.

But hey, some lessons need to be learned the hard way.

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_Heracles said,

Nothing wrong with eating the bones and innards of the chicken.
What gets me is the chemicals they put in afterwards.

Meh, I have friends who work in pig slaughter houses and they all wash the carcasses with ammonia too.

No one cares about your opinion of fast food. It is like criticizing a Honda Civic after you drove a Corvette.

The KFC Double Down Invades Japan! McDonald's Declares War By Lowering Price of McNuggets

McDonald's Japan unveil new four Big America burgers: Grand Canyon Burger (released this month), Las Vegas Burger (release on 1/27), Broadway Burger (release on February) and Beverly Hills Burger (release on March).

I always want this one! Fire Shrimp burger aka McShrimp

I don't know if they have them in the US but here in the UK you can get various deli sandwiches which are just leagues ahead of the other crap they serve in terms of quality. Sure they aren't incredible and I only eat there maybe 5 or 6 times a year at most but they are the only meals I have if I got there.

Neobond said,
Was a fan of the McBacon in the 90's when it was on the menu here in The Netherlands, but that's not available anymore.

I remember the Arch Deluxe

I love McDonald's and will continue to eat there. However, those Twitter posts were hilarious. Sometimes you wonder what goes in their food before it gets to you. The trick is to clear you mind when you look at it and you'll keep it down.

McDonald's isn't near as bad as people pretend. It's just popular to make fun of them. Now their food isn't what I'd call great but I do enjoy getting a double cheeseburger now and then (even though lately they taste like they have a pound of salt in them). Their breakfasts are still great though.

I guess either it has just become cool to hate on McDonalds as they are a big company (very likely) or their restaurants in the US are crap compared to the ones I've been to around Europe (England, Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark to be specific). Never had any problem with any of their food, way ahead of any similar restaurants that can be found here.

rippleman said,
i like Mcd's. Don't go there often like it when i do.. Some people just have it brain-washed in to them like its the end of the world if you eat there.

When the world ends I'll eat there.

Claiming to use the freshest ingredients is misleading considering it is only the beginning phase. Once they are processed and chemically engineered it makes little difference the quality or 'freshness' of the input. Corporate advertising ignorance at its finest.

I don't love it, I don't hate it. I don't mind going there and grabbing something on my way home, but if it were even slightly out of the way I wouldn't mind not going there even again.

As for the campaign gone awry...well, they're foolish for not realising that it was going to happen.

Now the whole hashtag history is full of people mentioning it to link to other news sites. As if we couldn't tell.

I do enjoy a McDonalds from time to time still

But you do have to laugh at how even huge companies like McDonalds can still screw up so badly

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