Last week, the food giant McDonald launched a media campaigns on Twitter, inviting the public to share 140-letters-long stories about their experience with the restaurants, the food, the brand or whatever.
After a few hours, the hashtag #McDstories was taken away from the home page of Twitter as the thing had taken a bad turn, exposing an overwhelming number of badly negative remarks. Newspaper titles raced to create jokes about the outcome of the campaign: bashtag, McFail, McDstories without a happy ending... but was it really so bad?
A few horror stories, some negative generic remarks, some bashing which had already been, is and will always be vented in a thousand of ways and on every possible interactive media (including word of mouth).
What will remain, after the dust has settled, for McDonald's? Some learnings about how this particular medium works, perhaps the fact that, at the same time, a similar campaign base on the #meetTheFarmers tag worked somehow better, probably because it was more focused and specific and therefore attracting meaningful stories, possibly with a higher ratio of true versus invented or exaggerated ones.
So, since the damage has already been done, here is my Gonzo Innovation proposal:
McDonald should launch a new hashtag campaign, #McDHorrorStories, and give away a self-contradictory prize: free meals for the most amazing contributions.