McDonald's last attempt to generate a Twitter hashtag meme #McDStories registered a fail when consumers used it to spread their own McDonald's horror stories.
But if you think that the fast-food giant would take a hiatus from social media, you'd be wrong.
This week McDonald's launched a hashtag campaign, #Shamrocking, for its limited-time Shamrock Milkshake. Shamrock Milkshake fans can show their love for the product through Twitter by posting pictures of themselves posing in a jig-like stance while holding the drink.
McDonald's seemed to have introduced the meme -- ostensibly a play on memes such as Tebowing and planking -- througha sponsored BuzzFeed post, with the text:
Have you tried #Shamrocking yet? The Irish jig has been an expression of joy since the 16th century, and thanks to the hot new viral trend of #Shamrocking, it's making a modern-day comeback. Check out some of these high-stepping #Shamrockers, then get out there and treat your friends to a shake and make them dance with delight!
McDonald's also tweeted: "Have u seen/tried the latest trend of #Shamrocking? Peeps R so excited 4 Shamrock Shake they're literally dancing 4 joy."
McDonald's last Twitter campaign ended in a flurry of negative tweets and press coverage #McDStories promoted tweet in January, in which twitter users hijacked the phrase to tell gross stories about McDonald's. The promoted tweet was pulled not long after, and the chain said it was learning from its experiences.
It's also come to light that shamrocking has an entry in Urban Dictionary. But #Shamrocking appears to be going better than other recent meme attempts.
But this campaign is getting a little backlash, too, such as this tweet from Peta:
@peta You know what's not #shamrocking? @McDonalds scalding baby chicks alive for nuggets! Take action & RT: http://bit.ly/y8Wnjm#BoycottMcDs
And some users are just making fun of it. "I guess #shamrocking is kind of like real rocking, except you've sold out and are faking it for your corporate masters," said another tweet."As with all things in social media, we focus on our fans and let the conversation flow," McDonald's Social Media Director Rick Wion wrote in an email to Ad Age .
Dunkin' Donuts also has a St. Patrick's Day-themed hashtag, #GooDDLuck, but so far it doesn't appear to be getting similar attention McDonald's. Then again, when a company as large as McDonald's tries to start any kind of hashtag meme, promoted or not, it's going to get some flak for it.
But social media's memory is short, and the new campaign is burying the old #McDStories, according to Mr. Wion. "To date we've seen tens of thousands of tweets and hundreds of pictures of fans sharing their excitement," he said. "By comparison, #McDStories was intended to raise awareness of the Suppler Stories campaign, and we saw only 2,000 mentions by critics."