McDonald’s Twitter promotion backfires as #McDStories is hijacked

Link to: McDonald’s Twitter promotion backfires as #McDStories is hijacked

‘Big brand’s attempt at using Twitter hashtag for marketing backfires’

Sound familiar? That’s because it is. But this time it’s not the flying kangaroo feeling the wrath of the disgruntled public, it’s fast food giant McDonald’s.

The burger brand had paid for the privilege of inserting promoted tweets into users’ timelines, intending to tell the stories of farmers who produce the ingredients used by the chain, using the tag #MeetTheFarmers, but a decision to change that tag to #McDStories went horribly wrong.

McDonald’s only used the #McDStories tag twice, but it was too late. The hashtag had been hijacked.

Social media director for the fast food chain, Rick Wion, tells PaidContent.org, “Within an hour, we saw that it wasn’t going as planned.”

The tag had taken on a life of its own. And continues to do so. One Forbes blogger may have coined a new social media term, dubbing it a ‘bashtag’.

A quick search for the tag on Twitter delivers Marketing these (admittedly selected, more entertaining) results.

One of the original tweets:

And some of the… others:

Including one from the ‘president’ of Vietnam:

 

Business Insider has posted an extended statement from Wion, who claims the negative tweets accounts for only a small percentage of the total:

Last Thursday, we planned to use two different hashtags during a promoted trend – #meetthefarmers and #mcdstories.

While #meetthefarmers was used for the majority of the day and successful in raising awareness of the Supplier Stories campaign, #mcdstories did not go as planned. We quickly pulled #mcdstories and it was promoted for less than two hours.

Within an hour of pulling #McDStories the number of conversations about it fell off from a peak of 1600 to a few dozen. It is also important to keep those numbers in perspective. There were 72,788 mentions of McDonald’s overall that day so the traction of #McDStories was a tiny percentage (2%) of that.

With all social media campaigns, we include contingency plans should the conversation not go as planned. The ability to change midstream helped this small blip from becoming something larger.

Comments

  1. Louise Blines says:

    Ohhhh burn from Nguyen Tan Dung!

  2. Joanna Lindsay says:

    Hmm. Still a bit dubious about the whole social media censorship thing…if it goes wrong then surely that’s an indication that the company has done something wrong? In this case 2% had negative perceptions but 2% of McDonald’s market is a hell of a lot of people.

    Perhaps they could use the negative publicity RE their toilets & general cleanliness the same way they used (and used well) the complaints from coffee drinkers.

    Also region comes into it, McDonalds Australia may have a very different level of performance on the ol’ smelling of wee front compared to the US but it’s a global brand and Twitter is a global communication tool. Hmm again.