Home > Uncategorized > Did McDonald's Sustainability Joke Hit a Nerve?

Did McDonald's Sustainability Joke Hit a Nerve?

April Fools day has come and gone. Some organisations like to use the day to make a joke or make a point, or sometimes have jokes made on them. McDonald’s attempt to laugh-off an online joke by environmental Website Grist this year may have backfired particularly as so many people (including media like the New York Times) thought it was true. The official McDonald’s Twitter account responded to readers’ questions about the story and another of their Twitter accounts said that this could be seen as a form of ‘flattery.’ Interesting.

In the story, which gained a lot of coverage online, it was claimed that McDonald’s announced that UC Berkeley had discovered that no item on their menu would decompose even in 500 years! In the fake story it was said that the Corporation announced that it would discontinue plans for a worldwide composting initiative after the scientist’s discovery.

Ironically McDonald’s does claim to have a few pilot programs for composting in Canada and London, according to their corporate sustainability website. Yet decades of friction between the company, who has had great success in recent years from more ‘healthy’ changes to their menu, and the green lobby obviously helped speed this story move through the social media sphere.

And therein lies the problem with social media, false stories can be passed on without any supporting evidence. An abundance of posts legitimizes the claims. One wonders how many people still don’t know it was a joke.  Although McDonald’s said they took the joke, I have to confess if I was their PR department, I wouldn’t be so agreeable.

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  1. April 6, 2010 at 04:56

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