Promoted McRib Still an Active Topic 2 Days After Promoted Trend Buy

On Friday, November 5, 2011, McDonalds purchased a “Promoted Trend” on Twitter.  Promoted Trends, which reportedly cost as much as $100,000, let you sponsor a “trending topic” that appears on  The Promoted Trend appears at the top of the trending topics list, with a yellow label next to it indicating that it is “Promoted.”  Here’s what that looks like – #TheWalkingDead was an AMC promoted trend on Sunday 11/17.

Twitter has begun rolling out its “Promoted Products” over the last few weeks with a small number of brands, so there are very few case studies to indicate how this new type of advertising works.  If all goes well, then Promoted Trends are an enormous opportunity to start a conversation around your product or brand.

So how did the experiment work for McDonalds and its launch of McRib?  There is certainly an active conversation happening on Twitter around the re-introduced McRib sandwich.  Two days after the Promoted Trend ran, tweets are rolling in at the rate of about 13 new tweets per minute at around 6 pm Eastern time.

How much of this activity would be happening even without McDonald’s investing in a Promoted Trend to get the conversation rolling?  Hard to say –  and it would be tough to devise a controlled experiment to answer that question.

McDonalds is continuing to promote the sandwich, but has scaled back the campaign to “Promoted Tweets” — when you search for McRib on Twitter’s web site, or click on a #McRib hashtag, the search results page has a Promoted Tweet from McDonalds at the top.  The resulting stream of tweets is a good reminder that it will take a certain amount of courage for brands to start a conversation around their product:  not all comments may be positive.

Here’s what a sample of the tweets looks like:

Pretty much every screen has a handful of negative comments (“The mcrib looks disgusting”) sprinkled in with the fan comments.  If you decide to try Twitter’s Promoted Products to start a conversation, remember that you won’t have control over the outcome.

On the other hand, as @LegoMyEggo81 says “All these tweets are making me want one, too.”

If you want to learn more about real-time advertising, join us at TWTRCON SF 2010 to hear from Adam Bain, Twitter’s President of Revenue, who will be interviewed by Kara Swisher about how Twitter’s new advertising products are working.