It all started with a cute idea of promoting the company’s fresh products on Twitter, but McDonald’s campaign soon blew in its face. Obviously, that’s not the results people behind the campaign expected. Worse than that, it’s safe to say that McDonald’s Twitter campaign is an obvious example of epic fail.
The campaign started by sponsoring the trends #meetthefarmers and #McDstories, both aimed to show consumers where the food comes from and how committed the company is for fresh produce and meat. McDonalds started its Twitter campaign with posts such as “A lot of love and passion goes into producing the beef for our burgers”, or “When u make something w/pride, people can taste it”. In both cases the posts contained a link towards one of McDonald’s supplier.
Immediately the campaign backfired, as consumers started telling their own opinions and stories about their relationship with the fast food chain. Users talked back and criticized the company without holding back. One user said: “#MCDStories More than half a year since last McTerrible McFattening McMeal. I don’t McMiss the McFood McOne McBit”, another one accused McDonald’s for being “responsible for the slaughter of billions of defenseless animals every year. #MeetTheFarmers who aid the murder”.
And those above are just some of the posts that made McDonald’s decide to pull off the campaign. According to McDonald’s the number of negative hashtags was so high it was forced to cancel the ad campaign. Within one hour after the campaign was canceled, the number of conversations about the topic fell to a few dozen. In comparison, while the hashtags were still in trends, the number of conversations about the subject were 1600 high.
Rick Wion, social media director for McDonald’s USA, confirmed that the Twitter campaign kind of backfired. “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”, he said.
Paddy Herridge, chief operating officer at Social360, told Financial Times that users don’t necessarily respond the way companies want them too, particularly when it is “transparently a marketing ploy”. She added that “brands with an established set of negative issues are always going to have those issues thrown in their face if they try and encourage positive interaction on an open forum like Twitter”.