What's that old saying, "if at first you don't succeed"...
Try as they did, McDonald's latest Twitter campaign turned out to be another epic disaster. Unfortunately for the fast food giant, this most recent ad campaign - similar to ones before this one - was hijacked by sarcastic internet users who ended up morphing the feel-good, Promoted Tweets into a McDonald's slam-session.
Last week, Mickey D's used two hashtags in Twitter's "Promoted Tweets". The first, #MeetTheFarmers, worked well as it flew under the radar and introduced Twitter users to various farmers who grow some of the ingredients found in McDonald’s burgers. The idea was off to a good start... but that's about as good as it got.
McDonald's then got the bright idea to move on to the second hashtag, #McDStories. Now before I proceed, just take another look at the hashtag and tell me the first thing that pops into your head. Is it... going to McDonald's as a kid and having chicken McNuggets with sweet and sour sauce while you enjoy the company of your family? Or... if you're like many other people in the world today, are you immediately trying to think of a great food-joke? A sample of the more popular answer can be found below...
The question then becomes, who in the hell is in charge of McDonald's social media that didn't see this coming? The answer... a man named Rick Wion, McDonald’s social media director.
When asked about this latest debacle, Mr. Wion explained that he and his team carefully chose the words that went into both of these hashtags carefully.
Are you sure about that, Rick?
One of the biggest questions I ask myself when doing social media marketing for clients is "What are potential scenarios for this becoming a disaster?". If I have a hard time coming up with answers, or the few I can come up with are relatively tame, then it's most likely safe to proceed.
But to totally miss this #McDStories hashtag? One would have to have at least some degree of brainlessness.
Look, I get it... working with social media isn't the easiest thing. That's why companies pay people good money to do it. There's a lot that goes into a successful campaign and there's plenty of risk when opening yourself up to the internet. It's far better to think of everything for a campaign before it's launched rather than having to scramble afterwards.
What ended up being the result of this campaign for McDonald's? The hashtag was pulled within hours - but not before the story went viral. The #McDStories hashtag still lives on, providing tons of material for those who love sarcasm, laughter, or a combination of the two - and McDonald's is back at the social media drawing board.