McDonald’s Hello Kitty social media meltdown

It sounds like such a great idea. Create some Hello Kitty fairytale characters. Give them away when people order McDonald’s McDelivery in Singapore. Then wait for the customer backlash when you run out of stock and watch the customers rant and rave on social media!

McDonald’s kicked off the Hello Kitty fairytale promotion last week. Every week if you can purchase the McDonald’s Hello Kitty Fairy Tales Collectibles at $4.60 each when you purchase any Extra Value Meal. …while stocks last. As stocks appear to have lasted minutes rather than 7 days as they were supposed to,  it looks like McDonald’s massively underestimated the demand for free Hello Kitty characters in a country/region that is mad about Hello Kitty…..

Where this should have a massive positive judging my news media and McDonald’s own Facebook page it has turned into a massive negative. Here are just a selection of current comments,…

“ is the Witch Kitty out of stock already? I tried to order McDelivery online today but was unable to select the Witch Kitty. Please share more updates to consumers as we do not know the status. May I also suggest making it available at all outlets instead of requiring us to order via McDelivery”

No answer from McDonald’s.

“McDonald’s, you have FAILED big time. It was certainly a big way to tell the whole Singapore that McDelivery SUCKS. So please use your brains, if any, before you come up with some SICK promotional campaign to manipulate the behaviour of your consumers.”

No answer from McDonald’s.

“now, all i get is “We are currently unable to take your order as your delivery store is not able to deliver. Thank you for your understanding. We apologise for the inconvenience caused. when i am next able to order via your website, i am pretty sure i will be given news that the witch kitty is OOS.”

No answer from McDonald’s.

“too late.. they have decided 5 min ago they cannot deliver to TPY.. so now, no delivery to Sengkang, none to Serangoon North.. none to TPY.. and even Raffles Place is out now.”

No answer from McDonald’s

“So disappointed with your delivery service! I placed my order online for 2 meals and 2 McDelivery Hello Kitty witch but received the Hello Kitty lion. Called the phone no. provided on the receipt and was told that the requested kitties were out of stock. The online order was placed on 30 May 2013 at 9.09am, aren’t there ample time for your staff to put the kitties aside for an advance order?? Your delivery staff did not even confirm my orders, and there were no napkins provided.”

No answer from McDonald’s.

“Hello. I want to order mcdelivery, but due to the stupid kitty, i cannot even order! I dun wan the kitty! What a stupid system! Only get kitty by delivery. If your stores cannot handle the orders, please dun use this method. Wondering how many people is going hungry because of the kitty promotion!”

No answer from McDonald’s.

“I just log-in on Mcdelivery website, wanting to order some supper & get my Witch kitty, realise the system don’t let me place order/deliver to my place?! wah.. wth 1st-time ever experience such issue, wanna pre-order advance for breakfast instead for tml, also unable.”

No answer from McDonald’s.

“You should have anticipated the forever overwhelming orders for Hello Kitty. Didn’t you learn from the previous experience. Trying to call the hotlines, however, there is no response. Wanted to place online orders. And your reply is: We are currently unable to take your order as your delivery store is not able to deliver”

No answer from McDonald’s.

Interestingly McDonalds have responded to my blog in Singapore and pointed out that the above comments were not deleted from the facebook site. However they have been “moved” to the “others section” rather than being seen on the main page. If this was done by timelapse that would be fine but only the comments from May 30/31 complaining about the service and the lack of figures have been “moved”. All previous comments to May 29 are still on the main facebook page going back he whole of May. Surely these should be moved too? Otherwise it just looks like McDonalds have moved the negative comments only….

The problem of purely using the delivery channel to do this is that people who don’t care about Hello Kitty have also been caught in the cross fire and been unable to order or had orders delayed. So a promotion that should have benefited this most lucrative of channels has turned into a PR disaster that McDonald’s seemed unable to anticipate or in fact deal with.

20% of McDonalds sales in Singapore are through delivery, partly because Singapore is a uniquely small and well connected island where delivery is easy and partly because Singaporeans love McDonalds…well did, not sure they do now!

Contrast this promotion with the 7-11 Hello Kitty Tokidoki promotion, also bizarrely kicking off at the same time in Singapore. Well done Hello Kitty…..not so well done 7-11 and McDonalds….

The mechanic is in store and linked to spend. $4 spend and you get 1 stamp/1 bonus stamp. 6 stamps  +$3.90 and you can get 1 figurine. 18 stamps and you get it free. Similar mechanic but interestingly their facebook page is full of people wanting to swap figurines and any query is being answered by 7-11 staff unlike McDonalds. 7-11 have also started saying you now get 2 free stamps so they must have under-demand or have perfectly managed demand compared to McDonalds.

Who’s got their social media policy right and who’s got their promotional policy right? 7-11 – 2 McDonald’s – 0.