Crisis media management: Was this tweet a major corporate blunder or a clever promotional trick?

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Was this tweet a major corporate blunder or a clever promotional trick?

Amid all the Black Friday noise there was one social media post which stood out from all the others.

It was a tweet which generated 23,000 retweets, 71,000 likes and widespread media attention – coverage that most brands can only dream of.

And it all stemmed from a reported corporate social media fail.

It happened when McDonald’s appeared to accidentally post an unfinished tweet about its Black Friday promotion.

It simply said: Black Friday **** Need copy and link****


Typically, when an organisation makes a gaffe like this it responds quickly, swiftly removes the offending post and hopes no-one noticed.

Of course, with a following the size of the one McDonald’s has, an error like this would never be ignored.

But what is interesting in this case is that the offending tweet can still be found today and although McDonald’s did eventually acknowledge it – several hours after it was posted – it did so with humour.



Naturally, the tweet without much substance led to some widespread mocking. Some Twitter users suggested there would soon be a social media manager position opening up at the fast food giant while its rival Wendy’s gained a lot of coverage for its brutal response.



It’s not the first time the McDonald’s Twitter account has made the headlines this year. Back in March it found itself in a crisis media management situation when a tweet blasted Donald Trump and called for the return of Barack Obama.

The post, which was pinned to the top of its page, said: “@realDonaldTrump You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands.”

On that occasion the purveyor of the Big Mac claimed its account had been ‘compromised’ and apologised – albeit not particularly visibly.

But this latest incident feels very different and it is hard not to agree with those who suggested this online ‘blunder’ would have generated far more awareness than whatever was contained in that missing ‘copy and link’.

In fact, there are some similarities with the recent incident featuring the baker Greggs which caused controversy after replacing the baby Jesus with a sausage roll in its advent calendar.

It may have had to issue a public apology for the mistake, but is also enjoyed two days of trending on Twitter and a huge amount of media coverage – saving a lot of money on advertising.

And it reportedly sold out of sausage rolls.



I’m not sure if McDonald’s ever sells out, but for me its Black Friday tweet was another, somewhat tamer, example of ‘banter marketing’ rather than a genuine blunder.

And I'm prety sure when its social media team saw the reaction they were McLovin' it. 


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