Jul 12 • 30M

Everyone Loves to #HateMcDonald's

An attempt to engage on Twitter leads to mockery, which is picked up by the media.

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The business of burgers.
Episode details

We’re discussing a strangely topical case study from 2013 called McDonald's Twitter Campaign: Hype Versus Reality, which is about how mean social media is.

It starts with a promoted "#MeetTheFarmers" hashtag designed to introduce the wholesome sourcing of McDonald’s. Something like this:

To boost “engagement” they switched from from #MeetTheFarmers to #McDStories halfway through the first day of the campaign, hoping to get regular customers to say wonderful things. Of course, that isn’t how Twitter has ever worked…

The new hashtag got people’s attention! McDonald’s quickly pivoted back to the original #MeetTheFarmers as more people piled on their #McDStories.

A few days later, the media picked up the story and ran negative coverage with mocking headlines. In the articles they were able to highlight McDonald’s blunder and quote the negative tweets. This coverage turned the minor misstep into a major mistake.

Following along with the case study we discuss what happened, and what we can all learn from McDonald’s mistake and the evolution of how brands use social media.

Note: This episode mentions the Grimace takeover of McDonald’s Twitter but was recorded before the reaction videos of the Grimace shake became a trend.