Classic & Social Media — Working Together

Classic marketing — wasn’t it great?  Picture Don Draper presenting the next great ad campaign idea to Chevrolet in a smoke-filled room.


The advertising business used to be planned for and over a long period of time, and the communication with customers was always well considered and reviewed.  In today’s fast-paced world, that almost sounds antiquated, doesn’t it?


The thing is, classic marketing as we know it — print, radio, and television — still plays a part in a good multimedia marketing plan, and it’s still about branding.  The difference is that now customers want to have experiences rather than products, and today’s marketing professionals know just how to seamlessly have a brand engage with their customers.

Let’s take a look at McDonald’s.

In the past few days, McDonald’s introduced a brand new mascot, Happy. The reviews were far from mixed.



If these were still the days of Don Draper and his Mad Men team, after the panic had subsided, there would be a response in the form of a full-paged ad in the New York Times, or perhaps a new television spot.  Nowadays, we have the luxury of social media.  Rather than use a classic form of media, McDonald’s chose to respond right where they chose to announce the mascot to begin with.

Rather than panic at the immediate public dislike of their new mascot, McDonald’s chose to capitalize on their media exposure and make light of the complaints.  This was advertising genius.  In a crisis situation, social media marketing far outshines the classic approach.  The immediacy of both the customer feedback and the company’s response shows how powerful social media marketing is.  Its spontaneous nature led to the negative feedback, but also opened the door for McDonald’s clever response.  The point is we are still talking about it.

As one article on states:

According to the research firm Kontera, the introduction of Happy hiked McDonald’s overall online/social media impressions by 67% from May 17-18 to May 19-20, and an impressive 25% of the content over May19-20 was related to Happy. Another 11% had to do with Happy Meals.

While, naturally, McDonald’s would’ve preferred Happy to be warmly embraced by their customers, any time someone hears about their new mascot — no matter the reaction to it — it’s giving McDonald’s free advertising.

McDonald’s uses a multimedia marketing plan, integrating social and classic media.  In this recent print campaign, McDonald’s chooses to not use any descriptions — in fact, they don’t even identify their brand on the posters — showing that their classic menu items need no introduction.

They support their print ads with a commercial.

They’re also using this new YouTube commercial to capitalize on this summer’s World Cup and encourage customers to download an app to play a new trick-shot game.  As it says on their YouTube channel, GET THE APP, GET THE FRIES, PLAY FOR GLORY.

While all of McDonald’s advertising has clearly been well thought out and planned, you never know how the public will react.  They may even take it upon themselves to make a documentary like, “Supersize Me,” or a teacher may challenge his students to debunk it.  In today’s media saturated landscape, the one thing you can count on is your customers having opinions and sharing their reactions and comments with you immediately.  They may tweet or blog or comment or even make a YouTube video.  The one thing you don’t want is for them to be silent.

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