McDonald’s fascinates me. Well, to be more accurate, their social media department fascinates me. When the well meaning, yet horribly received, #McDStories went belly up, they had me. Being the proprietor of several failed social media campaigns myself, I have become a part-time connoisseur of hijacked hashtags, trolled posts and Internet shame.
In honor of St. Patricks day, McDonald’s recently rolled out their #Shamrocking Twitter promotional event. Patrons of the fast food franchise, are encouraged to snap photos while doing the festive jig that is #Shamrocking, and slap it up on Twitter. McDonald’s, plus milkshake inspired dancing, plus hashtags, in my mind equaled another new media catastrophe for Ronald and his gang.
This week #Shamrocking landed on Twitter, and much to my surprise, it seems to have hit the ground running. I cannot believe it, an entire promotional event that is centered around a neon green, probably toxic, holiday inspired shake; is thriving. A Twitter search of the hashtag reveals few malice filled tweets, just a handful of tweets from poor souls, with obviously no sense of self-preservation. As badly as I wanted to see #Shamrocking up in flames, I must admit McDonald’s steered this hashtag in the right direction. Here is how I think they did it.
They Bought Street Cred
Instead of flying solo, McDonald’s decided to enlist the help of the wildly successful BuzzFeed. People trust BuzzFeed to tell them what is awesome and not awesome on the Internet, so by default #Shamrocking must be awesome? I don’t blame you BuzzFeed. If McDonald’s offered me a truck full of money to dance with a poison flavored shake, I would be dancing harder than Mikhail Baryshnikov at a cocaine fueled disco party. The offer is on the table guys; I will be waiting by my phone.
They Were Specific
The #McDStories hashtag was vague, and left a good amount of room for overall snarky business to transpire. #Shamrocking is built around one limited product, and one singular act. There is much less opportunity for people to hijack the hashtag, and turn it acidic. But, you can still turn it around Twitter community; all we need is one good tweet. I would try myself, but after drinking a Shamrock Shake, I blacked out for a week and have since forgotten all of my passwords.
They Built a Cult Following
Much like the McRib, the Shamrock Shake has built a devoted group of followers. #Shamrocking supporters have made it a personal mission to spread the word about their love for this consumable nightmare. For anyone confused as to why someone would adore the Shamrock Shake, the best reason I can think of is that McDonald’s has his or her entire family held hostage in a missile silo somewhere.