Give consumers a microphone, and they'll have something to say — it just might not be what you want to hear. That's a lesson McDonald's learned once again, the hard way.
Earlier this month, the fast-food chain was forced to pull down a social media campaign it had launched on Twitter using the sponsored hashtag #McDStories.
Hashtags are clickable links Twitter users can place on their posts to aggregate tweets on the same subject.
McDonald's had hoped to promote the quality of their ingredients. They first used the hashtag #MeetTheFarmers, and all was well, but then they switched to #McDStories, expecting fans would share positive experiences. Instead, the tag became a way for animal activists and less-than-satisfied diners to air their grievances.
McDonald's quickly pulled down the promoted hashtag, but it lives on. There's also a new one that's grown popular — #McFail — which is being used by those discussing the fiasco.