Stretching Your Marketing Message to Fit With Social Media

Stretching marketing to fit social media

by Matthew O'Brien on February 25, 2010

Do you remember Stretch Armstrong?  Although I did not have the toy, I certainly found pleasure in trying to destroy it or stretching to its maximum capacity as a kid (and you could).

This reminds me of the current McDonald’s campaign “eat like an Olympian.” Here it is in a nutshell: create a sauce that is only available in the Olympic Village and then create a promotion offering this sauce (for chicken nuggets) at all McDonald’s locations…so you can eat like an Olympian. Does this make you crave McDonald’s?

Would you consider this a stretch of the marketing message?


Does it fit in with social media marketing?


Is this a bad campaign?

Actually, it’s a good campaign and here’s why.

eat like an OlympianThe “eat like an Olympian” campaign is creating some feedback both positive and negative in the social media space and in the media…so it is getting people talking.  The viral buzz is going on both good and bad so the primary goal of invoking a response has been achieved. I am sure the McDonald’s team that is managing the Twitter stream may disagree but it is getting mind space and it is getting the McDonald’s brand out there. Even through the messaging is a total stretch and was created for the sake of saying “eat like an Olympian”, it is creating third party content by getting people talking online (and offline). Isn’t this the primary goal of social media?

This is a great example of how messaging can be a hit of miss (and here they took a risk). If no one was talking, it would be a miss (which is not the case here). Most companies don’t think this way and tend to create marketing and branding messages that are too insider. Then when it comes to having this translate into social media marketing, it typically becomes a stretch for them to get the messaging right. McDonald’s really stretched what we all consider a valid marketing message (even McDonald’s insiders would agree) but does it matter if the results are there? I guess it is too early to tell if this campaign helped to increase sales at McDonald’s but as for an example of how to stretch your marketing message to invoke a response and to get people talking, this one is good.

I have to admit that I did have McDonald’s last night but I was not motivated to try the special sauce of the McNuggets. I guess I was the one who missed out on eating like an Olympian.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Social Networking Software March 8, 2010 at 9:42 am

I agree, from a purely marketing standpoint what McDonalds did was nothing short of brilliant. They piggy-backed a campaign on the globally hot topic and whether people thought it was good, bad or indifferent it succeeded in it’s primary goal, it made them think of McDonalds. Personally they slogan made me giggle as I wondered how many “my body is a temple” Olympians actually eat at McDonalds.


Matthew O'Brien March 9, 2010 at 8:05 am

Thanks for your input. I got a chuckle from your comment about “my body is a temple”. Some good irony there and yes it is a thought provoking campaign all around. I would like to see the numbers on what it did for sales and online engagement.


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