[Update 20 October 2009: It turns out this new purported McDonald’s memo is itself a fake. The comment spam attempt was not from McDonald’s.]
Well-known burger-tossers McDonald’s would be pissed off about that fake email tarnishing their reputation, and understandably so. But are they now responding with unethical tactics?
I don’t know. But here’s my little bit of evidence, and maybe The Power of Crowdsourcing [read: “expecting everyone else to do your work for you”] can fill in the gaps.
- A document purporting to be a leaked internal memo outlining McDonald’s response policy, and claiming they’re taking legal action against prankster David Thorne, was posted on Reddit — which happens to be where Thorne promoted the original fake memo. The account used to post this new memo, the oh-so-revealing 9911882882288, was created at that time and this is their only post. I’ve included the full text of the purported memo below.
- This morning someone tried to post a comment here which was merely a copy and paste of that same memo. They used a clearly false email address, which is presumably what caused their comment to be tagged as potential spam, and an Apple Mac running Safari sitting on an IP address on the Hutchison 3 mobile network.
This strikes me as rather curious.
Since McDonald’s is the big fast food chain that haters of big fast food chains love to hate, I don’t see that many anonymous bystanders rushing to its defence. Something in my waters says this is more likely to be someone acting on McDonald’s behalf — but that’s just a gut feeling.
And since McDonald’s is a big company, presumably they have a big respectable PR firm too.
So why, therefore, the anonymity?
The Public Relations Institute of Australia’s Code of Ethics talks about “dealing honestly”, which in my books means identifying yourself — although I’ll admit I’m hazy on how the PRIA itself would interpret that.
Has anyone else had someone attempt to post this memo as a comment? Is anyone seeing McDonald’s posting official comments in their own name?
And what do you make of the fact that prankster David Thorne works for a design agency which lists McDonald’s as a client?
Purported McDonald’s Memo
This is the full text of the comment which someone attempted to post on this website earlier today.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Bronwyn Stubbs
Date: 14 October 2009 11:56:45 AM
To: 372 Recipients
Subject: Fabricated letter
As most of you are aware, a fabricated letter (attached) appeared on a US blog about a week ago. I contacted the blog and had them post a confirmation that the letter is fabricated but despite this it went viral and is now circulating via email.
A response was provided to media and customer service and we are currently have an alert on our corporate website which can be viewed here: http://mcdonalds.com.au/#/home/promo2
Should you be contacted by any media representative in regards to the letter, the following text must be used: “The memo in circulation supposedly written by the Proprietor of Frewville McDonald’s in South Australia is a complete fabrication. ‘Robert Trugabe’ is not a McDonald’s Australia employee and never has been. The contents of the letter are also completely fabricated. McDonald’s practices the highest standards of consumer ethics and would never encourage employees to act in a way that undermines our core customer values.”
According to recent news articles and other information we have been provided, the fabricated letter was created by an Adelaide man named David Thorne. At no time should any member of McDonald’s mention the name David Thorne to any media representative. We have spoken to police and are in the process of filing charges against Thorne. We are also speaking with legal regarding a possible law suit. At no time should any member of McDonald’s contact Mr Thorne or engage in any correspondence with him. Should Mr Thorne contact you in any way please let me know immediately or forward any emails.
Please inform all those who should be made aware.
Corporate Communications Manager
What do you reckon? Comments please!