McDonald’s McRib Faces Some Heat

If you haven’t already heard, McDonald has been working hard to relaunch the McRib sandwich. You’ve probably seen the commercial of the dad wiping his BBQed hands on his daughter’s bib, but did you happen to see the Promoted Trend for the rib-molded piece of meat? I’m from Kansas City and we know good BBQ a mile away, but let’s put our taste-buds aside and look at the mishaps on McD’s social media efforts.

Last Friday, McDonald’s Purchased Twitter’s Promoted Trends for approximately $80,000. What resulted was backlash and ridicule from the Twitter-verse. After reading the article ClickZ, I wanted to take a deeper look and think through where McDonald’s have have gone wrong. First step, Google.

Here are a few tweets that I found.

  • Lacefronts & McDonald’s™ McRibs Are Ruining The Black Community
  • The idea of ingesting a McRib sandwich literally makes me nauseous…
  • I just imagine eating alien prawns covered in bbq sauce #Yuck!
  • I’m sorry, but the McRib does not look or sound appetizing at all.
  • I’ll pass on this one…- Is it a fear of meat formed in to rib shaped paties? It’s sort of gross #mcrib

So, seeing the response I can’t help but question, were there a few key steps that McDonald’s might have missed before purchasing the ad-buy? And, was an ad the best way to go? The short answer: Yes, then probably no. More may come to light of the McRib campaign, but in the meantime, here are my thoughts.

Know your Audience & Choose the Right Medium

Who is the McDonald’s McRib target audience? Honestly, I’m not sure Twitter was the right place. Additionally, I’ve never been a fan of just ad-buys, let alone untargeted buys. You’re not doing your brands justice by simply reaching everyone, when it’s a someone you’re looking for. Furthermore, there were opportunities to integrate with the McDonald’s Facebook page or Twitter handle, rather than a series of canned messages. Looking at your audience, could there have been a mobile component? How about YouTube, since you’re asking for video submissions? Pick your platforms based on your key audience.

Know Your Obstacles and Address Them

People continue to talk about the odd mystery meat formed into a rib-like mold, and it’s not positive conversations. Knowing the backlash both from the online and offline, would another shape have been a better choice? If not, then at least address the public outcry. Nothing beats transparency.

In the Clickz article, Rick Wion, the social media director at McDonald’s said, “It is U.S.D.A. grade A pork – pork loin and pork shoulder chopped and made into a patty. The fact that it is shaped like ribs probably throws some people off. Often there are some critics who jump on that.”

If the meat is a point of criticism and ignoring it has not shown to be successful, the next best move is to address it (and I’m not a fan of ignoring, but sometimes it happens). The truth, I never knew that this rib-like concoction was actually a Grade A pork loin and shoulder. Additionally, the cartoon video doesn’t do your mysterious meat justice. Tell your story McDonald’s – your true story. Don’t let us make it up. It won’t end well.

What do you think of the McDonald’s McRib online promotion? What would you have done differently?

Posted on November 8, 2010, in social media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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