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McDonald’s Hashtag Horror Story

Last week, Erica wrote about how a Facebook promotion landed Timothy’s Coffee in hot water. Now, McDonald’s is suffering a similar fate after losing control over a recent #McDStories hashtag campaign.

Although it started as a way to engage and share stories about the fast food chain, suppliers and staff, the hashtag instead brought out consumers making fun of and negatively commenting about McDonald’s. (The Huffington Post has a slideshow with some examples of the Twitter backlash.)

Plus, adding more fuel to the fire, McDonald’s and PETA had a back-and-forth about meat allegations at the very same time. And unfortunately, this is not the first time the fast food chain has sparked controversy on Twitter.

Emma Hutchings of PSFK said it well: “This goes to show that Twitter is one platform where companies have yet to achieve full control and their campaigns can go in the opposite direction to what they intended. Consumers have a lot of power on this medium, and hashtags can be used by anyone to make negative comments as well as positive ones.

What do you think? Is there anything McDonald’s could have done differently to prevent its well-intended promotion from going horribly wrong?

This post was first published by Beth Brenner on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.

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