The McDonald's HashTagGate Affair

...And, I don't mean that I fell in love with a cheese burger, though it is easy to do.

Recently, Maccas inserted a BigMac sized wad of paid for tweets into the Twitosphere, using a hashtag for tracking - the aim was to raise awareness about their use of fresh produce. They used two #browns.. oh, wait... HashTags... One was #MeetTheFarmers the other was #McDStories

Rather than making you read loads of my painful rhetoric, the short story is that people started using #McDStories for evil, in place of good... (on the internet, really?!) The shorter story is that their chief social media person, Rick Wion*, pulled the hashtag in question, and rolled with the one that wasn't collecting tweets like... [These examples from Social media Today in the article by David Amerland ]

"Fingernail in my BigMac once #McDStories, McDonald's Twitter Hashtag Promtion, Goes Horrible Wrong," said user @capnmarrrk.

"Ordered a McDouble, something in the damn thing chipped my molar. #McDStories," @PuppyPuncher said.

"Hospitalized for food poisoning after eating McDonalds in 1989. Never ate there again and became a Vegetarian. Should have sued #MCDStories," @Alice_2112 said.

"Watching a classmate projectile vomit his food all over the restaurant during a 6th grade trip #McDStories," @jfsmith23 said.

My question is this - despite pulling the tag and not responding to any of the evil tweets (which would have made sense, turn that frown around!) did this harm the brand? It had extra people talking about it for a couple of days, it's dredged up some issues that Maccas need to fix (nobody likes a fingernail burger!) and it's painted an important picture for others... "Watch out, some idiot could turn your well intentioned social brainchild into the devil"

In your opinion, is this a massive fail on Rick's part? Or is it always going to be this way - the internet being evil and all. I'd say "How could he have possibly known" and "better luck next time!" ....Now, I'm off out for a BigMac.... nails and all!



*or someone that a. looks like him, b. sounds like him, c. works for him or d. all of the above.