Thursday, January 23, 2014

After LGBT Twitter Bombs, Is Sochi Olympics Social Media Marketing Dead ?

LGBT Activists Twitter Bomb McDonald's Olympic Hashtag Campaign Until McDonald's Apparently Gives Up.

The Sochi Olympics corporate sponsors, who have been coldly indifferent to President Vladimir Putin's violent crackdown on LGBT Russians, have become targets of online protests by LGBT activists.

Ever since the fastfood chain McDonald's announced a Twitter hashtag campaign around #CheersToSochi, LGBT activists have been reappropriating that hashtag for messages about McDonald's callous response to the ongoing state-sponsored violence and discrimination against LGBT Russians by their very own government.

LGBT activists have been challenging Olympic sponsors, like McDonald's, to break their silence around the violent crackdown against LGBT Russians. When multiple users coordinate tweets with the same hashtag on Twitter, it's called Twitter bombing, a term used to describe either activism or a form of guerrilla advertising, as a way to increase visibility about connotations surrounding a particular hashtag. In the case of McDonald's, activists were trying to convert the commercial aspect of McDonald's Twitter hashtag into a protest about cold, corporate callousness.

The effort of some LGBT activists to challenge McDonald's gained the attention of one prominent openly gay media figure, Michelangelo Signorile, who has been following the LGBT Twitter bombing.

After about three days of the Twitter bombing campaign, McDonald's has appeared to have ceased using #CheersToSochi on Twitter, leading LGBT activists to believe that the large fastfood giant had seen its online goodwill deteriorate beyond salvation.

The damage that McDonald's is doing to its own reputation following it's deadly silence on the violent Russian LGBT crackdown comes at a time when the world's largest hamburger chain is losing customer loyalty and is facing an embarrassing sales slump. "We've lost some of our customer relevance," CEO Don Thompson told Wall Street analysts during a conference call this week.

Activists from around the world are questioning why the media and people in the media are refusing to acknowledge the human rights abuses taking place against LGBT's in Russia. Last year, the French pop superstar Mylène Farmer was in Russia when anti-LGBT violence broke out in Saint-Pétersbourg. Ms. Farmer, who enjoys a huge LGBT fan base, remained mum about each of the violent attack and the over-all crackdown that claims as victims her very own LGBT Russian fan base.

LGBT activists have also been targeting special NBC Olympics commentator Johnny Weir, the former figure skater. Mr. Weir has been using many media appearances to deny that the violent LGBT crackdown is taking place in Russia -- leading activists to label Mr. Weir as a "Putin apologist."

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