by Anna B. Vassalotti
If an organization has to pull down a campaign after launching it for only two hours, it probably didn’t work out in favor for the company. This is what McDonald’s had to do in 2012 when they decided to start the “trendy” #McDStories. Happy meals, fun times in the play pin, and Ronald McDonald were McDonald’s thoughts while using the hashtag, #McDStories. The fast feeder launched the promoted tweet, #McDstories, in an effort to gin up some heart-warming stories (Advertising Age, 2012). Instead, it attracted “snarly tweets and McDonald’s detractors who turned it into a #bashtag to their #McDHorrorStories” (Hill, 2012). This short-lived social media campaign for McDonald’s was an immediate fail.
According to social media director of McDonald’s Rick Wion, McDonald’s corporate tried a different way to engage customers and social media together while using Twitter and a clever hashtag to catch customer’s attention. Unfortunately this idea didn’t go as planned. McDonald’s got negative feedback as soon as their campaign took off and they quickly realized this was not helping their brand. Sample tweets from the campaign include, “McDStories…a nice juicy Filet o’fish. With added worm. Still alive. Nice. Never again,” wrote Twitter user @flatfootphil, and “Found a dirty band aid in the bottom of take out bag..McDStories,” wrote @HarrisonSJ via twitter (Curry, 2012).
The corporate had paid for their hashtag promoted on their Twitter homepage. Customer’s across the country relayed quick feedback to the hashtag which was unexpected and unplanned. There were a total of 72,788 mentions of McDonald’s on Twitter that day which composed only 2% of messages on twitter during the promotion (Sherman, 2012). “If you aren’t experimenting with social media right now, you aren’t trying” and “McDonald’s asked for feedback and received it” (Pulzzi, 2012). His point towards McDonald’s campaign was that they were trying out something on social media and it ended up not working. Pulizzi thinks its good for companies to try out new ways of campaigning through social media and if it doesn’t work out, oh well.
I believe McDonald’s promoted this hashtag to simply try out a new way of promotion while engaging customers in a different way. In their mind, campaigning #McDStories through twitter was a way to promote stories, good times, and all the wonderful things McDonald’s as to offer. This obviously did not go as planned for the organization. Wiot and his team did not think of alternative feedback they would receive from the twitter audience. This was a huge social media fail because majority of people are not going to talk up McDonald’s like it is a five star restaurant. Although they may have intended to create a new and fun way to promote fun times at McDonald’s, the hashtag did not work to their benefit.
If I had approached this differently, I definitely would have. The hashtag, “#McDStories” in majority of customers eyes may confuse them. I know if I saw McDonald’s promoting this hashtag I wouldn’t of had anything to contribute to the campaign and hashtag. I know McDonald’s is not my first choice of food to eat, let alone, I don’t make great times and memories at the local fast food joint. I don’t think I would of gone through with the hashtag. I understand where McDonald’s team was coming from but I think they could of promoted this differently, and by differently, I mean not promoting this hashtag at all.
Curry, C. (2012, January 24). ‘McDialysis? I’m Loving it!’: McDonald’s Twitter Promo Fail.
Hill, K. (2012, January 24). McDStories: When a hashtag becomes a bashtag.
Pulizzi, J. (2012, January 27). McDonald’s Social Media Goes Wrong? Not a Chance.
Sherman, E. (2012, January 27). How McDonald’s Twitter campaign fell into the fire.
Where Advertising Went Wrong. (2012, January 28).