Posted By priyanka ~ 9th November 2011
Confession, being a health food junkie I am not really that fond of McDonalds as a food joint. In India especially there have been serious controversies regarding what actually goes into the vegetarian burger. While I may have different thoughts about the brand’s product itself, when analysing their social media presence I must say that I really like what they are doing!
It looks like ‘toy-world’!
While looking out for some great social media activities targetted at kids, I just passed by the McD’s Facebook page and was totally floored! Another confession, I love board games! My ipad games all consist of free board games so when I saw ‘MONOPOLY’ I just swooned! Okay maybe that was a bit exaggerated, but I love the way the McD’s page looked a few days back (currently it is changed to promote a product launch)! The bright red color, landing page, focus on Monopoly, the top pictures showing the various tokens in the game! Also the landing page makes it clear that there are freebies to be won (Oooh!)
In order to play the game we need a game code which can be found on some of their products – a clear action to generate some sales!
Content is the key!
So going past the Monopoly and the look of the page, I took a closer look at their status updates and saw that they are clearly targetted towards a younger audience! Notwithstanding the fact that ‘kids’ atleast younger than 13 are not allowed to make their accounts on facebook, McD knows they are on Facebook and does the most sensible thing to cater to them – churns the right content! Using games like Farmville and Cityville McD keeps its content oriented largely towards the young folk on facebook. I know a lot of kids who have signed up on Facebook and they are the friends from whom I get all those many game requests. From all the millions of fans that respond to the fact that McD has a farm on Farmville would be these young people and that is who McD is catering to!
New Snitch… errr Product Launch
It seems they are to launch a new food product in their menu, and the hype around it seems to have a serious Harry Potter appeal to it! The design and graphics, for a second make me think of all those awesome RPG’s I keep playing! (I also love RPG’s)! I am half tempted to participate in all this even though I am not in the US and more importantly I am vegetarian so the ‘pork goodness’ has no meaning for me!
So what really makes the page tick?
Clear Target Audience
They are catering to the youngsters, not their parents nor their educators. They are saying ‘play monopoly with us, you might have to buy a few of our products while you are at it, but we will give you freebies too’! All their updates are in tune with the young folk psyche.
The Monopoly is a highly engaging ongoing activity! A good game with freebies would keep people strung to it for days on end. It can also become a very potent sales generating mechanism. A fan wouldn’t think much about buying a few McD’s products to get whatever code goodness they need in the game!
Flipside – Page Spam Management
Obviously the page spam management is quite non-existent. One look at the comments and you have to wonder where the McD fans are cause most of the comments are spam! I am sure all major brand with huge fan following would attract its share of spam but its upto the page management to keep the page clean so there is decent conversation happening. This is sadly lacking from the McD’s end. This is probably also the reason why they don’t give us the option to look at fan posts on the page.
Note: There has been some controversy on social media regarding these activities targetting kids who are then incentivized to buy these products which are bad for their health! Like I earlier mentioned as a social media case-study here is one where a lot of brands can take pointers from! Regarding the ethics of it, I personally am not a fan of McDs. I think that overall every country needs to have a legal policy regarding marketing & advertising and that is where the question of whether a McD can or should be able to entice kids in this manner must be decided! If traditional ads and promotions are okay then so is this. IMHO.