The McDonald's #McDStories Twitter promotion was supposed to highlight stories from farmers and other suppliers of the fast-food chain, but things quickly went downhill after Twitter users hijacked the #McDStories hashtag to describe employment woes, animal cruelty and even gastrointestinal distress associated with eating McDonald's food.
McDonald's originally used two hashtags in its promotion: #McDStories and #MeettheFarmers. Rick Wion, the social media director at McDonald's, acknowledged that "both fans and detractors will chime in" and indicated that the Twitter backlash was "negative enough that we set about a change of course."
Check out screenshots of choice McDonald's #McDStories tweets below.
And here's a statement Wion emailed Business Insider:
Last Thursday, we planned to use two different hashtags during a promoted trend – #meetthefarmers and #mcdstories.
While #meetthefarmers was used for the majority of the day and successful in raising awareness of the Supplier Stories campaign, #mcdstories did not go as planned.
We quickly pulled #mcdstories and it was promoted for less than two hours. Within an hour of pulling #McDStories the number of conversations about it fell off from a peak of 1600 to a few dozen. It is also important to keep those numbers in perspective. There were 72,788 mentions of McDonald's overall that day so the traction of #McDStories was a tiny percentage (2%) of that.
With all social media campaigns, we include contingency plans should the conversation not go as planned. The ability to change midstream helped this small blip from becoming something larger.