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Case Study: How McDonald’s Canada built trust and reputation with the help of social media

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macdonald

Campaign

As described by Marketing magazine, being one of the country’s largest fast food chains, McDonald’s Canada was convinced there were certain myths and misconceptions surrounding its packaging, product launches, the quality of its food and the way in which that food was prepared. Research found that a lot of these myths were seeded and growing within the social space. For that reason McDonald’s decided to direct a bold campaign to face these misconceptions head on and use transparency to put any negative rumours to rest. As Karin Campbell, senior manager of external communications at McDonald’s Canada explained to Ad Age: “We certainly could see pervasive myths out there, so we decided to take on those myths head on and just clarify some of the info by developing a platform.”

“Our Food. Your Questions.” launched in the spring of 2012 with a YouTube video directing visitors to a dedicated website where they could submit questions about the brand by logging in through their Twitter or Facebook account. The questions on the site range from conspiracy theories about food additives, to why the food looks so different from their advertising. And not only tough questions like: “How is it that a McDonald’s burger does not rot?” or “Does your Egg McMuffin use real eggs? They look too perfect,” have been answered. McDonald’s has also released a series of videos that have gone viral. One of the most memorable and talked about clips, as stated in Marketing magazine, features Hope Bagozzi, creative and national marketing director at McDonald’s Canada, explaining why a hamburger looks different in advertising than it does when purchased from the restaurant and to date it has attracted more than eight million views on YouTube.

ven though McDonald’s had a fairly strong social media presence before “Our Food. Your Questions.” through its Twitter and Facebook accounts, Marketing magazine outlined that the project was positioned as a responsive rather than proactive approach. A few months later in August, the company promoted the digital project with a four-week “offline” advertising campaign that included a 30-second television commercial, wild postings, video projections on buildings and transit dominations in key markets across Canada.

Results: 20,000 questions answered

By April 2013 the chain had answered 20,000 questions. The “Our Food.Your Questions” part of McDonald’s website had gathered more than two million hits. McDonald’s said visitors are spending an average of four and a half minutes engaging with the site and reading approximately 12 questions.

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