Wednesday, January 25, 2012


How could this possibly have turned out badly?

Last week McDonald's ran a promotion asking people to share their favorite stories about the hamburger chain on Twitter using #McDStories.

In just two hours McDonald's was forced to shut down the campaign but not before people shared some stories that were less than complimentary.

"#McDStories worked there for one month-unhygienic staff; managers, plus my boyfriend got a hair in his burger the day before I started-Sign!"

"Memories of walking into McDonalds: the sensory experience of inhaling deeply from freshly-opened can of dog food #McDStories"

"I haven’t been to McDonalds in years, because I’d rather eat my own diarrhea. #McDStories"

While a lot of people enjoy McDonalds and a lot of people have good stories, there are some who don't. There are some who think McDonald's is evil. There are some who'd rather McDonald's not be around.

And that's where McDonald's made their fundamental mistake. They forgot the old adage, "'Dog bites man' isn't news, 'Man bites dog' is."

Rick Wion, Social Media Director for McDonald's is quoted as saying less than 2% of the total tweets that day about McDonald's were negative.

McDonald's may have had 10,000,000 favorable tweets, but you're only ever going to read about the bad ones in the paper. Nobody ever writes news stories about all the planes that don't crash.

So just a few negative tweets was all it took for this to become a firestorm of bad publicity and a case history for how not to do social media marketing.

The lesson here?

You can't control what people say, but you don't have to give them a megaphone and put them in the middle of a crowd.

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