That McDonald’s “Signs” Ad Might Have Worked Pre-Social Media.

This ad would potentially landed all right before there was Twitter.

But there are just toooooooo many people with toooo many problems with McDonald’s.

Remember how they were on top of the world in the recession? Remember how they outflanked Starbucks briefly by introducing “affordable” Mc-coffee drinks? Good times.

At those points, they were solving a problem (one of my main themes in Selling Eating): decent food for less money.

But as things pick up, and the Millennials are refusing to invest in a meal that (fairly or unfairly) many people see as unhealthy from a company that (whatever side of the issue you’re on) once gave the financial advice to its employees that they should try getting a second job to make ends meet.

So it’s a miscalculation to think you’re at a point where pointing out how emotionally engaged you are in times of tragedy is going to be accepted with the embrace of friendship.

Social media didn’t have the chance to comment on your heart-string-tugs of the eighties and nineties. And now, there are a lot of people just waiting to jump on such an attempt to manipulate people’s opinions—which is all any advertisement is, really, when it comes down to it.

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What’s the lesson here? Maybe sketch out a few expected reaction-tweets to your ad before you invest in it. Can you really imagine someone saying, “I love that big ol’ company.” on social media?