McDonald’s became the subject of an outburst of vitriolic hatred on Twitter when critics hijacked a promotional hash-tag created by the fast-food giant.
The critics accused McDonald’s of making customers vomit, serving pig meat from gestation crates and dishing up a burger containing a finger nail.
One fierce opponent claimed he would rather eat his own diarrhea than visit the famous Golden Arches.
Jumping on the social media bandwagon, McDonald’s last week launched a campaign featuring paid-for tweets, which would appear at the top of search results.
An initial hashtag, “#MeetTheFarmers”, meant to promote the corporation’s guarantee of fresh produce, concentrated on wholesome stories about farmers.
McDonald’s tweeted: “Meet Dirk Giannini, McDonald’s lettuce supplier, as he shows u his life on the farm #MeetTheFarmers http://mcd.to/AyvF4M”
All was humdrum until 2:00 p.m. last Wednesday when the global chain sent out two tweets with the more general hash-tag “#McDStories”.
Some marketing whizzkid proclaimed: “When u make something w/pride, people can taste it,” – “McD potato supplier #McDStories http://t.co/HaPM5G9F”
But within minutes the tweets began to go radically off message, as the hash-tag took on a life of its own.
Detractors seized on “#McDStories” as an opportunity to document their alleged horror stories at the Golden Arches.
@jfsmith23 wrote: “Watching a classmate projectile vomit his food all over the restaurant during a 6th grade trip. #McDStories”
One of the worst was @MuzzaFuzza who wrote: “I haven’t been to McDonalds in years, because I’d rather eat my own diarrhea.”
Followers chimed in including @nelo_taylor who wrote: “These #McDStories never get old, kinda like a box of McDonald’s 10 piece”
Social media director Rick Wion told paidcontent.org: “Within an hour, we saw that it wasn’t going as planned,
“It was negative enough that we set about a change of course.”
However the campaign wasn’t a complete failure.
The “#meetthefarmers” hashtag, which escaped the battering, stimulating mostly positive tweets, has stayed put.