Iâ€™m in love.
Iâ€™ve found a type of marketing ploy that, realistically, I donâ€™t think can ever be topped. Not by lewd viral videos created to market a book, not by a miniature woman who sits on my desktop and flirts with me, and certainly not by a site that lets me direct my own video about a sweat-slicked woman writhing on a dance floor (although,Â all are really cool idea).
No, instead Iâ€™ve been bowled over by a site that is, essentially, very plain and non-emerging, but that Iâ€™ve just spent the last two hours on.
Created by McDonaldâ€™s UK, this site is called â€œMake Up Your Own Mindâ€ and allows readers to write in questions which are, in turn, answered in a very polite and informative manner by a representative of McDonaldâ€™s. Sounds boring, right? Let me expel this belief by providing a few of my favorite questions:
â€œI read in the paper that some burger contain poo. Is this really true? If so, what proportion of burgers contain poo?â€ (â€œNo. This is absolutely not true. McDonaldâ€™s UK has never found any such thing, and given the high profile of the company, you can assume that anyone with such allegations would have brought them to McDonaldâ€™s attention right away â€“ but they havenâ€™t. You can be assured that the highest standards of food safety are adhered to in the preparation and serving of McDonaldâ€™s food.â€)
â€œisit true that there has been a case where a person has found a eyeball in one of your burgers??â€ (â€œNo, McDonaldâ€™s is not aware of any case like this ever happening.â€)
â€œAre your milkshakes made from dogs lips?â€ (â€œNo. Each milkshake will have slightly different ingredients depending on its flavour but all milkshakes are made up of around 75 percent of milk, which comes from the British isles. The full ingredients of the milkshake base (before specific flavouring) are: Milk, skimmed milk, cream, sugar, skimmed milk powder, glucose. Stabilisers: E412 guar gum, E452 sodium phosphate, E407 carrageenan, E466 carboxymethylcellulose. Vanilla flavour. If you would like any further details on the milkshakes or indeed any item on the McDonaldâ€™s menu, all food, ingredients and nutritional information are available online in ‘Eat Smart’ section of www.mcdonalds.co.uk under the ‘Nutrition Counter’ section.â€)
Like I said, I just spent two hours on the site. Iâ€™m going to probably spend at least another two and then check back, regularly, to see what new, misspelled bizarre questions are being asked of this company, because, really, this is some of the most entertaining content Iâ€™ve ever seen.
All of this is, essentially, user-generated content in a way thatâ€™s so very different and almost non-emerging given what weâ€™ve been seeing lately. Users are not submitting videos that will be voted on to play at large sporting events. Theyâ€™re not being asked to craft their own advertisements. Instead, they ask questions (often mispelled questions) and receive answers to all of them, regardless of lewdness or just down-right strangeness.
And, for anyone out there who still thinks this is a horrible idea or off-brand or a potential liability for the company, let me explain why this is so totally cool:
- Itâ€™s entertaining. Iâ€™m going to be devoting at least four hours on a Saturday to read this stuff.
- It conveys a very good image of McDonaldâ€™s, who not only answer all of the crazy questions they receive, but do it in a way that shows they can be both polite, polished and somewhat pithy while doing it. The images is that theyâ€™re accessible, smart, and very willing to deal with the demands of any consumer who comes across their path.
- That McDonaldâ€™s is unafraid of anything a consumer can throw their way. Theyâ€™re not concerned with any potential misuse of the site. They answer everything and anything and present themselves in a position of poise.
I love this website. I really do. I havenâ€™t seen anything that comes close to building good PR for a company like this in at least two months.