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Burger King unveils new menu to compete with competitors

Burger King launched the largest revamp of its menu Monday since its creation in the 1950s.

Austerity bites: British economy contracts

The British economy contracted 0.2 percent in the last quarter of 2011
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Britain's austerity architect, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, says there will be no change to his economic plans despite British economy experiencing negative growth in the last three months of 2011 (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

The Office of National Statistics' figures on the British economy were not hugely surprising. Economists had been expecting a contraction of some kind.

The Financial Times surveyed a group recently and they thought the economy would shrink by 0.1 percent.

The prospects for another contraction this quarter are high. The FT report notes construction and manufacturing activity are down. With sizeable lay-offs coming in the public and private sector, as I blogged recently, the prospect of a double-dip recession is increasing in probability.

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#McFail: McDonald's hashtag promotion is a marketing disaster

No, social media strategies don't always work. McDonald's learns a painful lesson.
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McDonald's french fries sit under a heat lamp at a McDonald's restaurant on April 19, 2011, in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sure, social media is important.

That's true for people wanting to connect with other human beings in their personal networks, of course.

But it's also true for companies that are trying mightily to reach their target customers. 

A good social media marketing strategy can work (check out this Mashable article for details).

But I'm pretty sure McDonald's is regretting its decision last week to run with this #McDStories hashtag promotion on Twitter.

That's because #McDStories has been an unmitigated — and sometimes uncomfortable to watch — disaster.

Here's the back story:

Like many other companies, McDonald's wanted to start a conversation with its customers. So it began the hashtag marketing plan with the following Tweet:

 

But then, as the Twitterverse can do so quickly and so devastatingly, the hashtag became a trending vehicle for people to share their own stories about McDonald's.

And not everyone's opinions about McDonald's correspond with a McDonald's marketing executive's wishes. To say the least. 

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Mom keeps "zombie cheeseburger" on kitchen counter to scare kids off McDonald's

Canadian mother and professional nutritionist Melanie Hesketh has kept a McDonald's cheeseburger on her kitchen counter for a year to put her two teenage children off fast food.
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Artist and photographer Sally Davies takes a picture of her McDonald's Happy Meal project at her apartment in New York. Davies let the Happy Meal sit on her coffee table for six months uncovered. She took pictures of it every day to track its deterioration, but allegedly the meal shows no signs of spoilage, decomposition, or mold growth. Canadian mother and nutritionist Melanie Hesketh is similarly keeping a McDonald's cheeseburger on her counter. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

A Canadian mom has taken an unusual step to deter her children from eating fast food.

Melanie Hesketh, a nutritionist and mother of two teenagers, bought a cheeseburger from McDonald's, unwrapped it, and set it on the kitchen counter.

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Britain: Unemployment Up ... Living standards high?

The unemployment rate reaches 17 year high but a new study says Britain's standard of living is higher than Germany's
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Boarded up shop fronts in Rotherham in northern England underscore the rising unemployment rate but do they say much about Britain's statistically high standard of living? (Christopher Furlong/AFP/Getty Images)
Economic statistics paint a variable picture of life in Britain
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Hong Kong, where McWeddings love to see you smile

HONG KONG — McDonald's means something different in Hong Kong than it does in the West. For people in tight living quarters, the fast food chain restaurants offer communal oases.

McDonald's Mystery

The site of failed protests in Beijing was once the key in a major corruption scandal
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