Less than 1% of tweets mentioning McDonald’s in relation to Sochi Winter Olympics are positive

By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

We Are Social

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McDonald's article

February 20, 2014 | 2 min read

McDonald’s has received 18,000 mentions on social as part of its sponsorship of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, research from We Are Social has found, but less than one per cent of these were positive.

The main focus of criticism, the research found, was the legitimacy of McDonald’s to be sponsoring a sporting event, with 35 per cent of comments associating the brand with obesity issues.

Ed Kitchingman, R&I director at We Are Social, said: “McDonald’s struggled to present a convincing narrative that it should be involved as a sponsor of the Winter Olympics. It began badly when its #cheerstosochi hashtag was hijacked prior to the Olympics, by those highlighting Russia’s anti-gay stance.

“The brand arguably never recovered from this, and the disparity of the association between a fast food company and a sporting event plagued it even further. It failed to convince a significant proportion of the public of its legitimacy to be involved in the conversation.”

Visa was the sponsor who has racked up the most mentions so far (49,700 mentions), while Procter & Gamble received less, at 12,000 mentions, but topped for sentiment, with 65 per cent of these mentions being positive.

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We Are Social suggested P&G successfully used its TV advert on social channels to help drive awareness and positive sentiment.

For Visa, the majority (99 per cent) of mentions were neutral, mainly consisting of retweets of its owned activity, or passing mentions of the sponsorship without offering an opinion.

“P&G and Visa focused on the athletes – or in P&G’s case, the athletes’ mothers. By foregoing the emphasis on their products, both brands were able to create content that people naturally wanted to share, capturing popular mood and gaining endorsements from social media users,” Kitchingman added.

The Sochi Winter Olympics was mentioned 7.3 million times between 7 and 18 February.

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