Olympic Buzz: McDonald’s Demonstrates Owned-Media Prowess on Eve of London Olympics
By Dave Armon, President, Critical Mention
McDonald’s will score Olympic-size buzz in mainstream media and on social networks as an official sponsor of the 2012 Summer Games. The juxtaposition of the world’s largest McDonald’s restaurant next to athletes with zero body fat could make for some interesting Tweets. But if a recent owned-media success from McDonald’s Canada is any indication, the brand is well prepared for the challenge.
In late June, Hope Bagozzi, marketing director for McDonald’s Canada, uploaded a video to YouTube that answered a question that had been submitted by a Twitter user: “Why the hell does my Quarter Pounder with Cheese look better in the ads than it does at the restaurant?” Within three short weeks, more than 6 million people knew the answer.
For those who have not clicked on the Play button, you missed hearing a food stylist explain how pickles must be moved so they are not hidden under sesame seed buns, and that syringes are employed to make mustard and ketchup drip down a seared beef patty in just the right way to get mouths watering.
It’s no secret that mega consumer brands like McDonald’s draw plenty of criticism. Social media has given everyone a megaphone, so it’s brilliant that Bagozzi and her team seized the opportunity to transform the doubt of a potentially cranky customer into credibility for the brand.
Companies like Howcast and eHow have built successful web businesses around answering common questions through video, with some of the webisodes generating thousands of views.
Kudos to McDonald’s for figuring out that a journalist-style video produced by a brand can be entertaining and shared among friends and foes alike—especially when the crowd suggests the topics that are tackled.
We think brands of all varieties—from not-for-profits and small businesses to the biggest global B2B companies and government agencies—will start asking their employees, customers, online social communities and other constituencies to contribute video.