Over the weekend, you may have noticed that “McChicken sandwich” was having a social media moment, leaping to the top of Twitter and Facebook’s trending topics. “That’s odd,” you may have said to yourself. “Sure, they’re crispy and delicious, but why is everybody suddenly talking about them?” And then you may have clicked the McChicken hashtag to see why it was trending, and were exposed to a very disturbing video of… how shall we put this delicately?…. a rather well-endowed man copulating with said sandwich.
By Monday, thousands of social-media users — including celebrities like Seth Rogen and Chrissy Teigen — had hash tagged “McChicken sandwich,” causing McDonald’s an avalanche of unwanted publicity.
From Business Insider:
The explosion of the #McChicken hashtag reveals how social media platform’s algorithms that track and promote trending news can have unintended negative effects for a brand. Posts signaling disgust and outrage about being tricked into watching the video are by far the most common social media posts about the #McChicken. However, expressing disgust that #McChicken was trending just helps #McChicken to grow.
It’s a similar situation to the supposed “outrage” over Starbucks’ plain red cups last winter — just way more gross and explicit. In November 2015, people criticizing others who were outraged by the red cups on social media far outnumbered those who were actually outraged. However, because the two parties used the same hashtag, it allowed the anti-Starbucks trend to quickly expand, and to seem much bigger than it ever was.
While Starbucks ultimately had one of its most successful holiday seasons ever after the red cup scandal, McDonald’s may not be so lucky.
Recently, the fast-food chain has been focusing marketing on its new Chicken McNuggets, made with 100% white meat. A viral video of a man engaging in a sexual act with a chicken sandwich is almost certainly far from the social media response the chain was hoping for with its mission to promote higher-quality chicken products.
McDonald’s did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the situation.
You can watch the video here. IF YOU DARE.
I really hope that Sausage Party in no way inspired this #McChicken thing.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) August 29, 2016
*Logs on Twitter*
Me: Lol why is McChicken trending?
— Steve Patrick (@thestevepatrick) August 28, 2016
When you learn why McChicken is trending and see it becoming a meme on your timeline pic.twitter.com/qniyDsKiDA
— EnVy JKap (@JKap415) August 28, 2016
Me: I wonder why #McChicken is trending on Twitter…
— gerald (@geraldtbh) August 28, 2016