Hashbrowns and Hashtags

McDonald’s… do you love them or hate them? Is it an indulgence you grant yourself after a few too many beers on a Friday or Saturday night? Or perhaps it’s the hangover curing McDonald’s mission that validates it’s place in your life? Either way, McDonald’s latest effort on Twitter has definitely revealed where Twitter users stand when it comes to the ‘golden arches’.

Their latest initiative which saw them promote the hashtag #McDStories began with promise; the following tweet was one of the first that McDonald’s posted yet unfortunately this tweet wasn’t the direction some consumers wanted to take the conversation in:

“Meet some of the hard-working people dedicated to providing McDs with quality food every day #McDStories http://t.co/BoNIwRJS,”

Let’s consider the implications of any hashtag for McDonald’s. They’re one of the largest brands in the world, yet it seems their social media team did not consider that the hashtag would start to trend. This is a perfect example of a hashtag that becomes detrimental to a brand when it starts trending, as it is then seen by Twitter users who don’t follow the brand; it is then seen by those who just want to add their own two cents worth of vitriol. And McDonald’s certainly has some passionate detractors amongst the Twitter community, as they soon found out:

“My girlfriend ate McD’s breakfast for the 1st time in forever last Sun & barfed it all up! Guess her stomach wasn’t lovin’ it. #McDstories”

“#McDstories Have you ever seen how this #FastFood is made? It should be illegal to call it #Food bc its #F&$%kingDisgusting”

“One time I walked into McDonald’s and I could smell Type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up #McDStories”

You’ll probably read all about it from a variety of sources today but it’s a simple lesson for brands that have a controversial product or a polarised audience within their market – think before you Tweet.