Monday, August 20, 2012

Not everything online has to be a "conversation"

This week AdAge, that venerable record of all that is newsworthy in advertising and marketing, finally decided that the McDonald's Canada online video series was worth writing about and attempted to suss out why it has been so successful.

For the most part the article is pretty good.

This campaign works because it answers questions people actually have about McDonald's and confronts myths that have been swirling around the brand for ages. It does so in a fairly transparent, straightforward manner. And finally, it does so in a controlled environment.

The marketing folks at McDonald's of Canada, unlike their Southern compatriots, seem to understand that it's okay not to let the brand's detractors hijack their communications. There is no "dialogue" here. Questions are asked and answered. End of story.

Which makes this comment in the article from a social media "expert" so laughable.
Stuart Schwartzapfel, VP-audience insights at social-media agency Big Fuel, warned, however, that too much control is not a ‘better practice.’ McDonald's Canada did not allow users to comment on the YouTube pages, which he said ‘implies dubious intentions,’ as it gives users no space to talk to the brand.
McDonald's intention isn't dubious. It is clear.

They will not allow those who hate McDonald's for whatever reason to undermine this campaign.

It's their brand. Their site. Their Youtube channel. They are allowed to manage the "conversation" and their brand. If someone disagrees with them and wants to say so, they can create their own rebuttal site.

Bravo to McDonald's for showing that brand management is alive and well in the age of "consumer control."


  1. Right on the money. Some social media "experts" pretend that a single formula of "add all social tools all the time" for their job is somehow the magic bullet. Well. If it is, they will soon be replaced by an automatic waffle maker. If it isn't, then we can start treating social media as what it is. Not a separate vertical expertise, but a conversation enabling function of user experience to be used when and where it makes sense and is a part of a strategy. Not a practice and plastering comment and share on everything possible.

  2. The last time I checked, having someone scream at you and tell you what a horrible person you are is not a "conversation."

    1. Exactly. When did posting become a contest to see who can spew the most vitriol?