McDonald’s Launches Social Media Beachhead on Flickr

Golden Arches

“Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed Canon 5D Mark 2?”

It’s interesting to see king of the fast food jungle McDonald’s showing up sponsoring the latest group on Flickr. The group, “Show Us What You’re Made Of,” sponsored by “McDonald’s Quality,” would appear to be the latest attempt by corporate America at making inroads into the vast world of social media.

I’m not sure how much money Flickr/Yahoo is making on the deal, but I’d assume that they are making at least some as the group says it’s “sponsored” and Flickr has a clear policy against people using Flickr for commercial purposes.

From the Flickr Community Guidelines: “Flickr is for personal use only. If we find you selling products, services, or yourself through your photostream, we will terminate your account. Any other commercial use of Flickr, Flickr technologies (including APIs, FlickrMail, etc), or Flickr accounts must be approved by Flickr. For more information on leveraging Flickr APIs, please see our Services page. If you have other open questions about commercial usage of Flickr, please feel free to contact us.”

This is not the first attempt by a major corporation to establish a presence on a social network (Pepsi has a room on FriendFeed for example and lots of companies are using Twitter), but it is one of the first that I’ve seen on Flickr.

A couple of interesting points about the new group. The forums normally associated with Flickr groups are closed in this group. The group reads: “Note: Group discussion has been locked, so no new topics can be posted.”

McDonald’s does direct people to their own off-site forum for conversations. The pitch for their own forum on their McDonald’s site comes with the invitation promise: “We also think you deserve honest, straightforward answers to your tough questions, so we’ve opened a forum where you can ask us anything about our food quality.” Of course, I’m assuming that this forum will be highly censored and once you get there has a disclaimer that, “please note, not every question will be chosen for a reply.” At present it looks like there are just four questions. I’d assume that questions by animal rights activists or others who might oppose McDonald’s corporate mission might not be among the “tough questions,” that they choose to answer.

It is also interesting that by submitting photos to the official McDonald’s photo pool you are basically giving McDonalds a free unlimited irrevocable license to use your photographs any way they’d like to both now and in the future. From the group rules:

“and further, you agree that McDonald’s and its assigns shall have, without further obligation to you, the royalty free, fully paid up, non-exclusive right and permission to copy, publicly display, publicly perform and use, worldwide in any online media now known or hereafter developed, including but not limited to the World Wide Web, at any time or times…”

Thus far a little over 400 people have joined the group, but because the discussion threads are locked it does not seem very vibrant. The photos in the group’s photo pool generally seem to have nothing to do with McDonald’s and appear to be just random photos submitted by various users. Apparently all photos submitted to the pool are moderated by McDonald’s and already some photos have already been not approved for submission.

Certainly corporate American’s foray into social media has begun. In addition to several well known (and in some case suggested) Twitter accounts, it would seem that Flickr may be the next place that Corporate America is looking to sell you more and more of the American fast food dream. And it may be the next place that Yahoo begins looking for to further monetize your Flickr experience.

In addition to the “official” McDonald’s group on Flickr, there does seem to be a much more active unofficial McDonald’s group on Flickr here.

Thanks for the heads up Eric!

You can see my set of McDonald’s imagery on Flickr here.

Be Sociable, Share!
Loading Facebook Comments ...

12 Comments

  1. No discussion on Flickr and you hand over a do-whatever-license to McDonald’s by submitting to the group? It’s clear that McDonald’s doesn’t really “get” social media. Hopefully they’ll come back with something new once they get a clue.

  2. C.C. Chapman says:

    What a missed opportunity by McD’s. I’m a big fan of making photos part of brand’s social media campaigns, but this one seems to be completely missing the point.

    The concept as explained on the group is an interesting one, but the lack of discussion or any integration of the photos outside of Flickr doesn’t make sense to me.

  3. Bill G says:

    I saw this group earlier this morning. I immediately had an answer to the “Show us what you’re made of” question, however I bet they won’t allow my picture of In-N-Out Burger into the pool… but I will try….

  4. Ernie N says:

    Thomas – I’m relatively new to Flickr but in the few months that I’ve participated it seems very whimsical in their rules. You’ve done a marvelous job of documenting their foibles – pulling accounts, trying to get usage rights from the photogs, letting McD be a corporate entity when all other commercial activity is banned. My question then is what IS the draw for Flickr? I’d love to see ( read) your take on this. I’m sure I’m wrong on some of this but again your insight would be very interesting. Ernie

  5. […] on free tacos. In contrast you have McDonalds trying once again to get a grasp on social media but they do it by sponsoring a group on Flickr where they want to know what you’re made of We’d like to know what you’re made of. What […]

  6. […] can’t spell the reaction careening through my body right now Picked up on this from Thomas Hawk’s site. McDonald’s has scored a sponsored group on Flickr, “Show us what you’re made […]

  7. […] we‎e‎k I blo‎gge‎d‎ abo‎u‎t‎ the‎ latest a‎d‎v‎er‎t‎is‎in‎g‎ c‎am‎pa&#820… Th‎e gr‎oup is cl‎e‎a‎r‎ly‎ commercial and […]

  8. […] more than just staking out your name on service after service. It takes more than just setting up nifty groups on things like Flickr which is really nothing more than a re-pointer to the corporate speak website. It takes more than […]

  9. […] more than just staking out your name on service after service. It takes more than just setting up nifty groups on things like Flickr which is really nothing more than a re-pointer to the corporate speak website. It takes more than […]

  10. […] on free tacos. In contrast you have McDonalds trying once again to get a grasp on social media but they do it by sponsoring a group on Flickr where they want to know what you’re made of We’d like to know what you’re made of. What […]

  11. […] They In Fact Plan upon Advertsing during Them? Image by Thomas Hawk Last week we blogged about the ultimate promotion debate that’s shown up upon Flickr, a McDonald’s "Show us What … The organisation is obviously blurb as well as written to foster McDonald’s upon Flickr. The […]

  12. […] When They In Fact Plan on Advertsing at Them? Image by Thomas Hawk Last week I blogged about the latest advertising campaign that’s shown up on Flickr, the McDonald’s "Show us Wha… The group is clearly commercial and designed to promote McDonald’s on Flickr. The group links […]