McDonald's Suffers New Hashtag Hiccup On Twitter

McDonald’s is launching a new social media campaign just two months after its last effort backfired disastrously. Unfortunately, Twitter users are already linking the fast food giant’s new hashtag — #shamrocking — with an obscene sex term.

The campaign began earlier this week when McDonald’s started a Buzzfeed page encouraging users to submit pictures of themselves #shamrocking — dancing a jig with a green McDonald’s milkshake. Things got off to a swell start as users played along and some suggested that “shamrocking” could be the new “Tebowing.”

But there were also early signs of trouble as some Twitter users claimed that “shamrocking” had a different meaning entirely. AdWeek has since picked up the story and linked to an Urban Dictionary entry (warning, offensive) and also suggested the entire McDonald’s campaign appeared to copy an older Captain Morgan campaign. The vibe on Twitter began to change:

The situation could become a repeat of the January debacle in which McDonald’s paid to sponsor a hashtag, #McDstories. The hashtag quickly became a “bashtag” as thousands of Twitter users used it to make marijuana and food poisoning jokes.

At the time, the social media manager for McDonald’s suggested that these incidents can be inevitable when a brand that is both loved and hated engages social media.

So far, the #shamrocking meme doesn’t seem to have spread far beyond the advertising community so McDonald’s may still be able to maintain control of the message.