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MacDonalds , MySpace UGC


User Generated Content is a horrid term, how about we use Consumer Generated Media? Or even better, People Creating Stuff.

From New York Times:

The year was 1974: gas prices were high, inflation was rampant and an unpopular Republican occupied the White House. McDonald’s introduced a spirit-lifting jingle: “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun.”

Now it is 2008, and McDonald’s is reviving it as a TV commercial. The company has asked consumers to write their own songs using the exact words of the jingle, and submit them to a contest on MySpace.com . The official reason is this year’s 40th anniversary of the Big Mac, but the then-and-now cultural similarities are not entirely lost on the company.

Dean Collins goes on to say:

It’s a flawless example of UGC implemented into a branding campaign, McDonalds truly are exceptional marketers.

it’s the perfect execution of current technology with an older but still relevant branding concept.

You know sometimes it’s easy to point at companies and say if only I was that big then I’d be a ‘marketing hero’ ….they got there by doing really great work – I cant commend them enough.

I really have nothing else to add except to say that the long tail of marketing jingle take-aways with a side serve of mashup creates a new twist on timeless classics. Competition closes today.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

10 thoughts on “MacDonalds , MySpace UGC

  1. I am not a fan!

    I just feel the whole premise of doing a ‘consumer generated media’ campaigns for a lot of brands atm is so shallow, this is a great example of another one. It just feels like the objectives are all wrong. I can just imagine that the Marketing Director is just sitting up on his high chair and thinking about measuring the success of this campaign in terms of how many people created content and engaged with our project?

    ‘People creating stuff’ *I like* for me is, only really great when the company are actually really interested in the ideas that are coming forward aka Threadless, not when the objective is to get as many chumps as possible to play with our mashup tool/create content.

    Rant over.

  2. Oh there’s a perfect world and then there’s the one we live in. 🙂

    I agree, but the MacDonald campaign is pretty inoffensive. And it’s not a generic, “create us an ad with our images and stuff” it had a nice twist to it.

    We are in the beginner’s phase of UGC – copyable and mimic’ing. It’ll change soon, and we’ll be bored with creating peer ads for a crappy iPod. In the meantime, it’s not a bad campaign. 🙂

  3. Though at the most basic level, it’s commendable that McDs has got involved in some kind of social media effort, I’m with Julian on this one.

    I’d ask whether McDs has let themselves open to: “multi-billion dollar company gets Joe Public to do some ad jingles for us for peanuts.”

    And though there are obviously millions of big mac lovers out there, I wonder whether they care enough to take part and will be interested to see the final numbers.

    As Marshall Fitzpatrick wrote in Readwriteweb the other day (http://tinyurl.com/5d6d94), brands make the mistake in thinking that consumers want to bond online over their shared love of cat litter, cola – or for that matter Big Macs!

    As we know, they don’t

  4. Hmmm I think there are some generalisations here guys that bear closer examination.

    For example, the ‘viral’ nature of user gen ads can have many features. If it’s for a good cause – e.g. the GetUp campaign – the response can be positive and overwhelming.

    There’s also a bunch of these “videopinion” sites as a subset of general customer review epionion sites. Have a look at http://www.expotv.com/ for an example – we ABSOLUTELY bond online over brands. Pop into the Vogue forums sometime and duck the flying Chanel. 😛

    *shrugs* is the MacDonald UGC ads an example of where it’s going in the future? No, more than likely not. But it’s a better example of a competition, than simply throwing up some locked down images and sounds and asking for a ‘creative’ ad to be made.

  5. Laurel as you attest we are in the beginners phases of UGC but I think you are underestimating the influence that you have on this process. How many companies would dare try to put a username and password restrict on their blog after reading your Woolworths story?!?!?

    You are a Pioneer/Trail Blazer (you bring a number of great and bad examples of companies doing social media to our attention) your analysis and insight is so valued and WILL shape what companies do in the future. As one of the only people I would like advising my company on social media you do have a role, you do have a role to call out what is rubbish (which I think you do really well and I have learnt a lot from your outings of companies so far.)

    Sorry, if I am feeling a little high and mighty of your role at the moment but this is what I believe.

    Nice twist or not, I think it is still leading us down the wrong path, the core concept of how they are using UGC or CGM is WRONG and should not be highlighted as an example of a company doing it better or right.

    I agree they are doing it better, but they are doing it better in the wrong way!

    Here is my 5 cents of closer examination on the whole UGC thing (I think a little more contextual than the 2 cents of yesteryear, especially in Australia )

    At the end of the day it all comes down to VALUE.

    I will break down the McDs and GetUp Campaign and then Threadless of value to the stakeholders in this exchange (Consumer and Brand).

    McDs
    Consumer Value
    The value for the consumer in the McDs campaign is just the chance of winning. Are the consumers getting any inherent value from creating this jingle?, are there friends going to give them kudos because they created an awesome jingle for McDs?, probs not.

    Are they forming valuable relationships with people with similar values through creating this content (ala Vogue Forum). NO! All they are interested in is winning the big bucks. If the moula or prize is big enough they will do the mental equation of whether the value (prize) outweighs the cost (time and resources). Offline example buying a few tickets at local RSL to be in the draw for the local meat tray.

    Brand Value
    The value for McDs is that they are getting deeper brand engagement with a number of customers, they are also putting more fish in their viral barrel, so with the chance of one of their piece of branded content going viral is heightened as opposed to their Ad Agency creating one jingle now they have a couple of 1,000 from consumers (with their own propagation networks). BUT I think if we are going to be serious here, they don’t really give a flying BIG MAC whether they get a good jingle out of it or not.

    TheGetUp Campaign
    Consumer Value
    In the example of the GetUp campaign the value is different, the value they will be getting is both the chance to be recognized by the Get Up organization and help make a difference but it is also good in helping describe who they are as a person, when they propagate their message (send the dorky facebook message/status, twit to all of their friends; ‘Hey check out the vid I made for Get Up’ this helps describe who they are as a person. That ‘making a difference’ is what they value, that democracy and Australian politics is something that they are interested in.

    Brand Value
    GetUp will gain value by their message getting out there to the masses, people taking an interest in the idea and propagating the message to their friends. They are interested in the videos that people are making. What videos people make actually change the direction of The Get Up organization. It helps to shape what issues are brought forward to the agenda. (I only have a loose understanding of the UGC done by GetUp so feel free to challenge me on this)

    I have decided to do one more because arguing the difference between UGC between a non for profit and profit agency is a bit of a cop out and a weak argument.

    Threadless
    Consumer Value
    The consumer value is getting their design on Threadless is double fold they are recognized as a great designer, there threads made it to be published (BOOYAH, I am going to set up my fashion label now), they will also receive monetary value and self worth value (I am a good designer) and demonstrating this to their network of friends.

    Brand Value
    The brand is shaped by the UGC, they will change their product on UGC, the UGC decides the direction of the brand and what content is produced (aka T-shirts). By allowing the consumer/user to decide what product they want to see. They also get the equity from the designers social networks (again the Facebook or Twits props, the consumer asking people to go vote for me, opens the Threadless brand up to more people.)

    I have just had another thought, I think that we should not only limit it to customer generated media, but it should be user generated stimulus/consumer generated stimulus because customer don’t have to only create content they can also come up with great ideas (aka Dell Idea Storm, MyStarbucks Ideas)?

  6. @julian,
    Oh look, I agree (with everything!), but I think you boys need to come back from being waaaaay ahead of the curve. 😛 The majority of people don’t yet create content online, need something simple to try, and an established brand takes the fear out of making a fool of oneself online. Asking people to play with their jingle is a fun thing to do. Is it sustainable? Nah. But it’s using the medium for what’s it meant to be used for – fun, copyable, beyond the usual, with potentially a bit of an edge? Given that #4 submission is from a guy who held up MacDonald’s with a handgun when he was 14, I’d say they got ‘edgy’ in droves. Heh.

    I think we need to take baby steps, baby steps m’loves. 🙂 MacDonald’s does a lot of online engagement with the communities so they have got a bit of a formula that works for them and their consumers so far. *shrugs* and setting the boundaries and making it simple is a winner.

    You won’t like this but you can’t always make things sophisticated or place responsibility on the consumer until they are ready for it. McDonalds demographic is almost certainly not GetUp or even Threadless. And seriously, clever does not always win, no matter what our high ideals and values tell us… not yet, anyway.

    And I would totally love to do a clip to the Vegemite song. *sings* We’re HAPPY little VEGEMITES as bright as bright can be…. *motiions for you to sing along* we ALL enjoy our…

  7. …for breakfast lunch and tea!!!

    Laurel I think you should shoot that idea too Vegemite : )

    Your right maybe I am too far ahead of the curve, I guess I just don’t want to see the name of UGC be tarnished because companies keep making the same mistake with the way they are using UGC, then we will have all the naysayers of social media to be like ‘I told you so! Waste of time and money!’

    I guess with the whole UGC thing there is a few rules that we can set out for companies to have a higher chance of success. Marketing is an imperfect science as it is, we however know there are a number of things we can do to minimize the risk. UGC marketing is no different.

    I think we need to take it a step back and sit in the chair of the Brand Manager of McDonalds Big Mac or any big Brand Manager thinking about using UGC. They will have a strategy and objectives which they will have set out to reach with the use of UGC.

    I am going to have a punt here and guess what the BM for Big Mac North America had as his strategy and objectives (feel free to prove me wrong)

    Strategy
    To get people engaged with the Big Mac Brand

    Objectives
    1. (insert number) of people who created content for the competition
    2. (insert number) people viewed the content created (audience reach)

    Looking at the amount of content that was produced on the site, I would suggest it looked pretty successful. Opps then I remember that it is the U.S and they are way ahead of us in terms of people creating content online and that they sunk a lot of dollars into keeping that campaign afloat through online strategies that I take my hat of too.

    Kudos to Big Mac for using the audience equity of Christina Milan and other Muso types, and engaging through the channel of choice for the online music community (Myspace).

    However, If this campaign was run in Australia right now and those were the measures I think any Brand Manager would be severely unimpressed with the power of UGC * cough cough, skipharder.com *

    Lets take it back to some UGC done the right way.

    We will sit in the seat of the BM for Dell Idea Storm

    Strategy
    Find ideas to help create a better Dell product

    Objectives
    How much did the improvements help sell the product?
    What type of difference did it make?

    Doing good UGC shouldn’t be a complex process and if we look at something like Dell Idea Storm,

    1. An established brand
    2. Something Simple – write down in words your idea

    It is doesn’t have to be too sophisticated.

    I feel like I have just opened the pandora’s box of UGC on this post! eek!

  8. @TCGM That is an awesome article – we sometimes love stealth ads, lonely girl style, and other times abhor them. I think if there is other engagement, marketers can use it, otherwise, forget it, no?

    @Julia, BTW Macdonalds does a lot of community stuff, real life and online. The woman in charge of marketing is a genius. Seriously, look up what they do and how they do R&D in marketing. awesome. 🙂

  9. Hi Laurel,

    Not sure if you have seen this, the latest on the McDs jingle…oops!

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/19/finalist-in-mcdonaldsmyspace-jingle-contest-is-former-mcdonalds-armed-robber/

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