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In an effort to jump on to the bandwagon of utilizing social media, McDonald created the #McDStories hashtag so that people could share fond memories about their visits to the popular fast food chain. This advertisement campaign was intended to strengthen the brand image and improve people’s perception of the fast food chain. It launched January 21st, 2012, but soon after, a stream of negative tweets began coming in. Sixty eight percent of tweets registered by Twitter Sentiment were recorded as being negative and McDonald’s share prices dropped 3% in 4 days.
McDonald’s goal for this advertising campaign was an attempt to improve the public perception of the company. McDonald’s strengths lie in its history of providing high variety, affordability, and appeal to children. W
hen it comes to rating the service and food provided, it is a very different story. Over time, people have commented that the service and condition in the stores could be better. Popular movies also influence our perceptions such as Supersize Me which question the nutritional/safety problems with the food at McDonalds; for example, the thought of consuming fries that don’t rot even after being left in the open for weeks is of concern.
Because it is such a large chain, most people have had experiences with the company while growing up which influences our expectations and the thoughts we have on McDonalds. The marketing campaign gained the company exposure via Twitter, but the impressions created were negative.
The term “bashtag” even arose for the unforeseen marketing debacle.
In conclusion, the failed campaign created generally a negative impact on McDonald’s image. As marketing shifts from paid advertisements towards crowd sourcing, companies realize that they must satisfy the consumer in order to gain their favor. This failed campaign helped to reveal the amount of discontent with McDonald’s service and helps to point out areas for improvement. McDonald’s has been adapting since, such as immediately changing the campaign 4 days later and introducing healthier foods like salads, oatmeal, smoothies, and a Happy Meal with fruit.
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