McDonalds Sponsored Trend Spirals Out of Control

Posted on January 19th, 2012 by True Media

Not So Much Love for Mickey D’s on Twitter

McDonald’s is sponsoring a trend (#McDStories) on Twitter this week to get conversations started about the farmers that grow their food. It’s a touchy-feely message that has unfortunately, backfired on them as people use the trend to share their McDonald’s horror stories! The New York Observer is going so far as to call it the latest “Hashtag disaster.”
Social Media can be wild and uncontrollable. This is a good example of how social channels can be a scary place for brands, but still they hold great potential to start conversations and engage the public. As a media professional, I commend McDonald’s for being brave enough to weather the storm of unfavorable tweets in order to start conversations with a somewhat skeptical public about the origin of their food. The campaign adds a human element to the corporate giant. However, I’m a little surprised they didn’t see this coming. It’s obvious that they don’t have a high influence among brand advocates on this particular social channel, considering most of the tweets are negative, and no one, not even the brand, is bothering to answer to much of the defamation.
The other promoted trend of #meetthefarmers seems to be a little more friendly and somewhat better received, although it’s not getting near the traction that #MCDstories is getting. For better or for worse.
And who knows, maybe they’ll learn some things from these tweets that can help improve their brand!