As almost everyone who goes online now knows, July 19 was McDelivery Day — a day when McDonald’s partnered with Uber Eats to cart out a bunch of swag to hungry brand loyalists. If someone placed an order with Uber Eats for McDonald’s between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. that day, they could expect some fancy McD’s promotional products to arrive with their food in an obscenely large Big Mac box (maybe, we’re not entirely sure about the box).
Customers had an array of retro options headed their way: French fry socks, that make it look like you’re standing inside a fry container with other fries peeping out; a fanny pack emblazoned with Big Macs, a bandanna with a French fry pattern, a sweet denim jacket with the Golden Arches on a front pocket, a t-shirt declaring McDonald’s a “classic” (in short and long sleeve and in black or white), a selection of suddenly trendy enamel pins and a burger-toting PopSocket.
It was the second annual McDelivery day, unfortunately without last year’s standout Big Mac onesie. But it was still a branding success, as people took to social media to brag about their swag — bringing the brand front and center even now, well after the event ended.
McDonald’s did a lot of things right with this promotion (again), by creating buzz around and anticipation for a specific event and then encouraging social media shares to keep the brand in the spotlight for an extended period of time. But it also went a bit wrong. Among the shouts of joy for McD’s swag online, people were complaining that they didn’t get their promo products as promised. Some people ordered right on time, only to wait forever for their food and end up with no special items, while people they knew who ordered after them had less of a wait and some swag. The brand was lambasted for false advertising, being called a McJoke and with some customers threatening never to eat at McDonald’s again.
Of course, much of this can be explained away as the chain simply not having enough promotional products to meet demand. But it’s a great lesson for companies on what can happen if a client’s campaign goes viral.
- Rule #1: Make you have enough merchandise to go around and have a plan to get extra if needed. McD’s ran out of promo items and loyal customers were mad as a result.
- Rule #2: Have a backup in place in case things don’t go as anticipated. McDonald’s was slow on communications, letting customers find out the swag was sold out only after getting their orders delivered. There should have been a better plan to inform customers of dwindling supplies long before they went out of their way to place orders.
- Rule #3: Be prepared for blowback. Luckily for McDonald’s, the behemoth company won’t suffer much from the few angry customers who didn’t get their fanny packs. But make sure your company and your clients are ready for the naysayers because there are always naysayers.
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