Some people dislike McDonalds for it’s food. I personally dislike it for its Twitter campaigns. The company not only has one, not two but three failed attempts under its belt! Really guys? You didn’t learn the first two times?

For those of you who are not familiar with McDonalds’ Twitter hashtag promotions, let me break them down for you. The first hashtag created by McDonalds was #McDStories. To make a long story short, this opened up the floodgates for negative criticisms all over Twitter. One user wrote “My memories of walking into a McDonald’s: the sensory experience of inhaling deeply from a freshly-opened can of dog food. #McDStories.” Ouch.

The second failed attempt at a Twitter campaign came with the birth of #littlethings. McDonalds got the ball rolling on this hashtag with a tweet that said “No line at the bank, a large tax refund, & those extra fries at the bottom of the bag. What are some #LittleThings that bring you joy?” An article written by Todd Wasserman on Mashable.com said that, “Despite the open-ended nature of the campaign, so far few users have used the hashtag as a forum for bashing the brand or taking the conversation in off-color directions.” These off-color directions included “a good cup of coffee in the morning” and “a child’s laugh.” While we can all agree that these comments aren’t nearly as bad as the ones that were posted with #McDstories, they are certainly not the direction the brand wanted to go.

The third and most recent failed attempt included the hashtag #shamrocking. Meant to introduce a classic shake in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the hashtag encouraged Twitter users to take a picture of themselves holding the shake and doing their version of an Irish jig.

Seems innocent enough right? Wrong!

McDonalds overlooked the fact that the word already has a connotative meaning, which is…. unsavory at best. Let’s just say it’s for adult eyes only. For a reference, please see urbandictionary.com.

If this has taught us anything, it’s that we should be prepared for the internet-users of the world to potentially change one thing into something completely different!

It has also taught us to make sure we know the connotative and denotative definitions of the hashtag words we’re using! A simple Google search is all that it would have taken to avoid this debacle. A few extra seconds of your day will save you, and your brand, a lot of embarrassment.

For a massive company with I’m sure quite a few people working on this, it seems at though McDonalds was careless with its hashtags. A Twitter campaign is not something that should be taken lightly. It will take time and quite a lot of research. Do not just throw up a hashtag and pray that it will work out exactly the way you want it to because odds are it won’t.



4 responses to “#TwitterCampaignFail

  1. Loved this post! Very interest blog on the case study of McDonalds on twitter. I think it is rather amusing that they seem to have failed so many times.

    1. McDStories. You can tell right off the bat that this probably is not going to end well for the brand. McDonalds may be one of the most popular fast food chains but controversy seems to follow it wherever it goes- so stories is probably not the best option! Maybe for someone else?

    2. Littlethings. I agree with you here for sure. It doesn’t seem like it’s that bad of a hashtag for the brand…but really? Does it have anything to do with anything??? Off-color directions were basically asked for.

    3. Shamrocking. I’m starting to wonder what is going on over at McDonalds in their communications/marketing department. Do they not know to thoroughly research this sort of stuff before they start using it? Maybe McDonalds should give up on the hashtags….?

    Great blog- great case study. What would you suggest they do next?

  2. I also loved this post, I was only aware of their first mistake, #McDStories, I had no idea they had tried and failed again so quickly. The other two hashtags they created are extremely questionable.

    First of all #Littlethings ?? How does this have anything to do with McDonalds? I think they should try to go for something that is more relatable to their food and their corporation. Maybe something about their fries (so that they can stay away from problems people may have with their meat).

    Secondly, I am astounded that they did not research #Shamrocking before making it their hashtag. Im really beginning to question who is working in their social media department.

  3. I actually feel bad for McDonalds. No matter what hashtag they use, they are going to receive significant backlash because people do not like their food. However, I am shocked that they do not have a crisis communication plan. For it to happen a third time is completely unacceptable. One would think with all the money they have, this would not happen. Like Kerry, I am questioning who is running their social media department.

  4. I know this comment is a little delayed, but I actually just saw this post. I also blogged about McDonald’s and their recent Twitter screw-ups. I discussed the #McDStories and critiqued how it really was not even thought out. The strategy was awful, and this was not the first time McDonald’s struck out on Twitter. I would have thought they would have learned a thing or two, but I guess not. I like the point you brought up about not just throwing hash tags around. Brands that treat social media like any other form of advertising will go extremely far. On the other hand, we can see how random hash tags thrown around can be detrimental. Good thing McDonalds is huge enough in society to stay on its feet; if this were another brand, they would have been done for!

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