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#McDStories was a promotional Twitter hashtag created by fast food chain restaurant McDonalds in mid-January 2012. McDonalds hoped that users would use the hashtag to share fond memories but consisted mostly of criticism and general negativity.
The campaign began on January 18th when the official McDonald’s Twitter account began using the hashtag #MeetTheFarmers, highlighting unique profiles of three different farmers who supply the company with potatoes, lettuce, and beef. The hashtag #McDStories was then used to point people to the main Supplier Stories section of their homepage.
Nearly immediately after the hashtag campaign was launched as promotional posts on Twitter, users began telling either horror stories about the food, the employees, or the conditions of local restaurants. WebProNews was the first to pick up on the tweets on January 21st, 2012. Over the next several days, the hashtag’s failure was covered by the Huffington Post, the LA Times, Forbes, the Telegraph, The Next Web, Mashable, and the UK Daily Mail. Between the 20th and 24th, McDonald’s stock went down 3%, and on the 25th, Twitter Sentiment registered 68% of the tweets with the #McDStories hashtag were negative.
By January 25th, the @McDonalds account had been completely rebranded for a new campaign for a popcorn chicken product, which went off with much less negativity. The same day, Buzzfeed highlighted some of their favorite horror stories.
Rick Wion, the social media director for the company, admitted on January 25th that the campaign was a failure within the first hour. While the official McDonald’s Twitter account only used the hashtag twice, during the two hours of promotion, it was used over 1600 times. However, tweets with the hashtag only accounted for 2% of all McDonald’s mentions that day.
The Independent – Not lovin’ it: McDonald’s eats humble pie after Twitter backlash
Business Insider – McDonald’s Twitter Campaign Goes Horribly Wrong #McDStories
Los Angeles Times – McDonald’s #McDStories Twitter marketing effort goes awry