We here at Brandsplat are not just experts in ghostwriting and savvy blog creation — we also dabble in all things online marketing. And we know better than anybody how important it is to keep bloggers happy. Bloggers are this generation’s version of on-the-scene reporters, and influential bloggers can truly make or break a company. So it isn’t surprising that many companies bend over backwards to make sure bloggers are “loving it.”
McDonald’s has a turbulent history with digital engagement. The fast food giant is often pegged as the planet’s foremost purveyor of heart disease and diabetes; online critics aren’t shy at all about stretching Ronald and Co. over the rack. The brand battles huge image issues on nearly every digital platform. 2012 has already seen the #McFail disaster, wherein a Twitter hashtag campaign backfired on the company. So when it comes to the super-costly and mega-high-stakes marketing of its partnership with the Olympics, McDonald’s is doing whatever it can to keep bloggers fat and happy, so to speak.
The Huffington Post reported last week that McDonald’s has assembled some 400 bloggers. This blogging army, according to HuffPo, has been plied with all-expense-paid vacations and lavish gifts. And all McDonald’s wants in return is a slew of positive posts about its brand and products. The high-cost, high-profile blogging campaign will be rolled out over the next few months in the UK, just in time for the Summer Games. Organizers are hoping to show bloggers how easy it is to use Facebook and Twitter to promote their glowing McBlogs. Shifty? Unethical? Sleazy? Perhaps for regular journalists — but this is blogging, so all bets are off! McDonald’s has a long history of trying to buy off bloggers — most recently with a mommy blogger experiment that backfired in 2011.
Mickey D’s isn’t the only company who tries to sway bloggers. Marie Callendar’s, Levis and nearly every cosmetic company under the sun (just to name a few) have all openly appealed to bloggers in hopes of a few kind (and influential) words. So, readers, we ask you: Does this practice make good digital marketing sense or does it make you want to take a shower? Let us have it in the comments section below!