On January 24, 2012, Rick Wion, director of social media for the McDonald’s Corporation (McDonald’s) was challenged by a series of events. A week earlier, McDonald’s had launched a large public relations campaign using the Twitter hash tag “#MeetTheFarmers” to promote connections with family farms and local suppliers. In order to maximize the Twitter Promoted Trends expenditure (a service Twitter offered to display trending hash tags on its homepage), Wion’s team switched the hash tag halfway through the day from “#MeetTheFarmers” to “#McDStories,” creating an opportunity for the public to share their own positive McDonald’s stories online.
However, within the first hour of switching the hash tag, Wion and his team quickly realized that numerous detractors had hijacked it to express negative comments towards McDonald’s. In an attempt to change the course of the campaign, the hash tag was changed back to “#MeetTheFarmers,” thereby successfully reducing the number of negative comments and discussions.
However, a few days later, the media started to run negative coverage of the “#McDStories” hash tag. With mocking headlines and articles providing screenshots of the negative tweets, very few of the media articles contained any statistics that explained or put proper context behind the situation. Moving forward, Wion needed to devise a better strategy for McDonald’s social media campaigns, while also preventing potential fallouts that could occur with the media by encouraging better media relations and ultimately more accurate reporting.
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Communication Plan Template
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