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Online sentiment towards McDonald’s boosted by the Olympics

15 October 2012

  • 49.2% of McDonald’s related posts were positive during the Games period
  • Over 5% increase compared to the same period last year (43.8%)

London, 15th October 2012 – The support shown to athletes this summer and the general positivity surrounding the Games translated into positive sentiment towards the Official Restaurant of the Olympics and major sponsor – McDonalds, according to Canadean Consumer’s online brand and sentiment tracking software Attentio.

Among all online posts discussing McDonald’s during the Olympic and Paralympic period this summer (27th July – 9th September 2012), more than 1 in 10 posts (11%) were related to the Olympics and 49% of all McDonald’s posts were positive in sentiment. These numbers contrast sharply to the same period a year earlier, when only 44% of all McDonald’s posts were positive and only 1% were around the subject of the Olympics.

Positive sentiment among posts relating to both the Olympics and McDonald’s together was higher still at 53%. The increased positive sentiment, according to Research Manager Alex Wilman, “indicates that aligning with huge national and international sporting events, such as the Olympics, allows brands to benefit and become part of the celebrations and successes, regardless of whether they are recognised as a ‘good fit’”.

“Prior to and during the games, McDonald’s marketing astutely focused on the glory of the Olympics rather than McDonald’s fast-food offerings. Instead of trying to convince consumers of their suitability with the occasion, which ultimately could have proved to be a difficult task, the McDonald’s brand was able to be a large part of the Games and the legacy without turning too many heads.”

Due to health connotations associated with fast-food brands, McDonald’s allegiance with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did confuse and annoy some observers, also reflected in Attentio’s findings. Despite the increased positive sentiment, negative posts slightly increased by 1% compared to the previous year (9% - 10%).

However, by benefiting from the long standing sponsorship McDonald’s has established with the IOC (London 2012 was the ninth consecutive games in which McDonald’s have been an official sponsor) and by being part of one the most watched sports event ever in Britain and the US, McDonald’s managed to piggyback on the jubilations surrounding the Games, boosting online sentiment in the process.

Attentio_McDonald's sentiment throughout Olympic period

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