Online social networking is popular. In the world of today, everyone with an internet connection is on some sort of social network. I don’t just mean Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc., but many websites have some social components that both registered and unregistered users can take advantage of. YouTube has their ill-advised comments sections, and many other sites, professional and otherwise, have added their own forums for members to discuss various issues in an array of topics.
Of course, many companies have since realized that there just might be something to this whole social network thing, after all. Most of these sites are free to join, and once you’re in you have free access to a virtually unlimited supply of potential customers. What’s not to love? While this might work out great for those who sell things online, infiltration on the internet front has not been translating as easily into the fast food industry. That is, until Wonka-Vision gets invented.
McDonald’s and Burger King have decided to put this theory to the test. The two burger dispensaries have created MySpace profiles for Ronald McDonald and the Magical Burger King, respectively. At least, I think they have. It’s really hard to tell with MySpace.com, you know, because there are over 9,000 profiles for Ronald and The King. Each. Instead of sifting through the masses of “Teh TOTES OFficial Ronald Mcdonald!!1!” and “LEGIT ORIGINAL_The Burger King for serious” pages, I just Googled them. Here are the top two hits for each one:
- Ronald McDonald
- MySpace.com/1035465: 4,666 friends
- MySpace.com/friesandburger: 3,293 friends
- The Burger King
- MySpace.com/theoriginalburgerking: 1,634 friends
- MySpace.com/theking_burgerking: 1,471 friends
These might be the profiles with the most friends. Also, whoever has the invaluable MySpace url name “Burger_King” has two friends, and I suspect that one of them may be a Neo-Nazi. And don’t get me started on whoever landed the “Ronald_McDonald” url.
I tried the same thing on Facebook, but after a while I just gave up. If it’s this difficult for me to find the official, company-sanctioned profiles while I am actively trying to track them down, then how would they be of any use whatsoever as a marketing tool. Maybe these profiles don’t exist. Maybe these companies decided not to use online social networking to try to get people in their restaurants. But then again, these companies can get pretty creative when it comes to advertising.
So I guess what I’m saying is that, while I don’t know how online social networking can be used to get people to buy more burgers, I am surprised that the fine people at MCD and BKC haven’t figured it out either. Maybe they’ll get it soon. It is their job, after all.
Facebook, Inc. and MySpace, Inc. are private companies.