It was March 2006 when Fernando Sosa and Thomas Middleditch rapped a video in the streets of Chicago about their love of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. Maybe you know this story.
The video was filmed by Matt Malinsky, with a McDonald’s franchise in the background. The company had nothing to do with the citizen-generated video; their only involvement was they made the food product which the two 20-something fans liked so much they created a rap.
The video saw tens of thousands of views on YouTube in the first year. Arnold Worldwide, an advertising agency based in Boston, was tipped about the video and, after consulting with the burger-and-fries empire, it was decided to adapt Sosa’s and Middleditch’s rap into a TV commercial. The media gulped it down, TV viewers raced to the stores to buy McNuggets, and one of social media’s earliest case studies was born.
Here’s the original video with over 2 million views today:
Here’s a version of the TV adaptation, with over 579,000 views since July 2007:
Neil Golden, the chief marketing officer for McDonald’s in the United States, shared last fall how the company uses the internet to engage with its customers.
You can read blogs by David Meerman Scott or Mitch Joel until you’re green in the face, but you can’t get simpler than this 31-second video. Companies will fail online if they do not go where their customers go. Companies will fail online if they do not engage with their customers, from customer service to brand management.
Unless your customers are not online to begin with — which you’ll never know if you don’t look for them or ask them directly — there’s no way around this tenet of online marketing.
Companies will also fail if they don’t reward their biggest fans.
What Sosa, Middleditch, and Malinsky are to McDonald’s, Dusty Sorg and Michael Jedrzejewski are to Coca-Cola. Maybe you also know this story.
When Dusty wanted to click a button and be a “fan” of Coke on Facebook, he ran into a brick wall. There was no page. So, the out-of-work actor and his writer friend co-created a page, filled it with useful content, and — to the astonishment of both Facebook and Coca-Cola management when they learned of the page — observed 3 million people voluntarily opting to be fans in 7 months. The duo were not alone in wanting to fan the company, hindsight showed.
Coke executives flew the guys to their Atlanta headquarters, treated them to a company tour, and met with them… leading to the pair continuing to administer the Facebook page (aided by a Coke representative), and undoubtedly to a monetary tune. You can befriend Coca-Cola on Facebook here.
If you were in the beverage manufacturer’s shoes and saw what they saw, how would you react to an unofficial Facebook page with fan statistics you would want for yourself? What would you do? If you were Arnold or McDonald’s, would you have capitalized on the citizen-created video? Do you even look if anyone’s created a video about you?