McDonald’s buys advertising on twitter

Every once in awhile I notice a food company trying something new on a social media platform.  As i’ve discussed previously, I think this is a bad news trend for several reasons.  McDonald’s is the first food company i’ve seen to buy a “promoted tweet” advertisement on Twitter.

This of course shows up on Twitter.com in the trending topics for millions of potential views:

Interestingly, as of now it seems to be getting generally poor reactions from twitter users.  In a totally non-scientific poll, I took the last 50 tweets from 3:00pm CST (excluding spam as identifiable) and grouped the reactions into 4 categories:

  • Sarcastic: 10
  • Positive Reaction: 7
  • Negative Reaction: 20
  • Unknown/Not Obvious Reaction: 13

That would be 14% of users reacting positively, 40% reacting negatively, and 60% with negative and sarcastic tweets combined.

Was this a failed experiment? I doubt it- if they gain some sales from those who will go and buy the McRib now, they may further establish brand loyalty in the long run.  And even negative reviews get the brand name out there- negative publicity can be good publicity.

Either way, I don’t like food companies invading social media.  The potential for (relatively) inexpensive advertisements and the social aspect that television and radio lack is powerful and dangerous in our food environment.

Edit (11.07): For twitter users who access twitter through 3rd party software, promoted ads that appear right in the timeline are apparently coming soon.