- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 02 August 2012 05:01, Updated 09 August 2012 04:15
When you hear the words open, honest and transparent, McDonald’s is not the brand that immediately springs to mind. In fact, it may not even make it into the top 100. But McDonald’s in Canada is running a social media campaign that may change that perception.
And so far it is doing a great job. The story starts at the YouTube channel http://yourquestions.mcdonalds.ca. The first thing you see is a form asking people to submit any questions about McDonald’s.
There are a lot of questions being asked. Many, such as, “Why is it so salty? Love your fries but they taste better with less salt”, are being answered with simple text responses such as “We’ve got great news for you! Simply tell our crew to hold the salt and they’ll gladly make a fresh, unsalted batch of fries for you.”
But there are a number of stand-out questions that are being dealt with differently. The question that has made this campaign really take off seems reasonably simple. It asks, “Why does your food look different in the advertising than what is in the store?” Rather than simply answer that question with a few lines of text, the PR team created a video with McDonald’s director of marketing as the storyteller. It shows exactly what happens on the set of a burger photo shoot. It’s a behind-the-scenes story that most people never get to see. And it has clearly captured the imagination of the public. At the time of writing this, more than 6.7 million people had viewed the video, which is equivalent to 20 per cent of Canada’s population.
There are many of these “real people answering real questions” videos. There is even a step-by-step video from McDonald’s head chef on how to make a Big Mac at home.
There is still room for the campaign to improve. Personally I’d like an attempt to capture more viewer data, although I expect there will be a lot from YouTube itself, and the site could be a little easier to navigate. But these are minor issues when looking at the campaign as a whole.
It doesn’t take long to realise that this site is merging customer service, PR and branding into one engaging, brilliant campaign. It taps directly into the culture of openness and honesty that social media creates and offers a platform for dialogue with customers. Where many brands are still assessing social media’s risks, McDonald’s Canada has forged ahead and said, “we have to communicate with our customers in every way we can”.
The McDonald’s campaign demonstrates that transparency driven by social media is going mainstream. One of the world’s biggest brands has realised that every customer’s voice is important. How long will take for other brands to follow?