Fast food campaign backfires

Addison Smith | Opinions Editor

We all have that fast food restaurant that we frequent when we just aren’t feeling 100 percent, or just truly want to eat because hey, we want it. For some, that place of choice may be McDonald’s and for some of those people, they may not know what exactly is going in their bodies.

Don’t worry though, McDonald’s wants to change that.

In a new web series and social media outreach McDonald’s has officially decided to address the rumors that you’re not eating pink slime, it is chicken, and the patty in your burger is actually beef.

The series, hosted by MythBusters co-host Grant Imahara, will feature Imahara travelling around the United States to learn more about the food we are eating from McDonald’s.

On Monday, the campaign began with a Youtube Video entitled “Our food. Your questions. Is McDonald’s beef real?” As of Wednesday evening, the video had over 600,000 views, 572 likes and 508 dislikes. The McDonald’s social media team has been responding to hate comments on the video with a signature “hey there” with a message to the haters after.

Youtube user Mrk00koodud3 posted the comment “God. I can’t tell if they’re just terrible actors, or they’re sugar-coating the real truth…” McDonald’s quickly responded with the process for how their hamburger patties are made. Soon after, YouTube user boomxheadshot88 commented “Does the chicken have feathers because I saw someone have a feather in there chicken.” McDonald’s ignored the poor grammar, but did quickly respond “Hey there. That’s definitely not true.”

Why is McDonald’s officially coming on the offensive? According to the Ragan article “Will McDonald’s online campaign put food rumors to rest?” the fast food chain has had months of declining sales and has been dealing with negative consumer opinion.

However, McDonald’s chief brand officer Kevin Newell recently said in an interview on ABC that the campaign “is not linked to the business performance at all. It’s linked to making sure that our customers truly know the story about McDonald’s food.”

Once again, McDonald’s comes out on the offensive. No one asked for this information, and it is not being received well. People don’t know how to take what is being provided to them by McDonald’s. Why are these reports coming out now?

From a public relations and media standpoint, this initiative is turning out to be a failure. Instead of people welcoming the outreach, it’s being looked at as a farce, a “Hail Mary” pass, an acknowledgement of things one wouldn’t even think about. If you do not want people to think you have worm meat in your patties, don’t bring up the fact that people think that. The offensive route seems more problematic than the defensive, which is eventually going to come up with more hate comments being posted throughout this web series.

The about section of the first video posted by McDonald’s reads “’Pink slime’? Worm meat? Fillers? You’ve been talking about McDonald’s beef so we’ve opened the doors to Cargill, one of our U.S. beef suppliers. Follow Grant Imahara as he gets answers about the beef we use for your burgers.”

People have been talking about McDonald’s beef? When? For a campaign based on rumors, it seems as if there are no rumors to base it off of. While these things are sometimes said in jest between friends, no major cases of these rumors have been visible in the major news.

Is this just McDonald’s trying to stay relevant in a time when people are leaning away from fast food? Honestly, that’s what it’s looking like and that is what people are assuming. In a generation where fast food is consistently being shoved down our throats as a negative, McDonald’s appears to be putting a positive spin on it. Rather than it working, it’s turning into a social media fiasco.

No matter what the outcome is of this campaign, people will still eat McDonald’s, because even if it is fishy, it sure does taste good.