How McDonald’s Averted a PR Crisis via Twitter

This past weekend, an Internet hoax aimed at McDonald’s made the top of the trending list when a photo of a company letter appeared on Twitter.

Video after the jump.


The Problem

As you can see in the video, the letter is an authentic looking message declaring that African-Americans will be required to pay an additional fee on every transaction.

Although many people, myself included, recognized this letter as a hoax, enough people passed it on that McDonald’s soon had a PR fiasco on their hands.

The photo gained the hashtag #seriouslymcdonalds and that hashtag topped worldwide trending.

 The Solution

McDonald’s responded in one of the best ways possible: in the same medium in which the hoax began.

McDonald’s released a statement on it’s official Twitter page, saying, “That pic is a senseless & ignorant hoax. McD’s values ALL our customers. Diversity runs deep in our culture on both sides of the counter.”

Timeliness is very important when it comes to responding to a PR crisis. Twitter was the perfect outlet in which to provide a response to the public. For one, it was where the hoax originated and two, people were already following the crisis on Twitter, enabling them to see the McDonald’s response to the matter immediately. If McDonald’s had waited to have a press conference on the nightly news instead, many of the angry people might have missed it.

Timeliness is important when responding to crisis. What other factors contribute to an effective response to crisis?

To read more about the hoax and how it began, check out this article from CBS.

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