What Can Hospitals Learn From a McRib Sandwich?

A Taste of How Social Media Can Support Promotional Efforts

The Daily Dog had an interesting article on how the McRib –love it or hate it– was causing a buzz in social media and, because of it, was creating tremendous brand awareness for McDonald’s.

The most interesting point to consider in the article and the one that holds a lesson for hospitals is:  “Because even if the majority of consumers will never see one, much less eat one, the fast food giant is getting more free publicity than it could ever buy.”

Flickr: kevinspencer

McDonald’s jumpstarted the blogosphere conversation about the McRib by offering the product for a limited time. Don’t worry. I’m not advocating that hospitals withhold a service so they can roll it out once a year to a big publicity splash. (“Sorry, we only run our cardiac unit in October.”) But hospitals can jumpstart buzz about services by being generous with information and linking short-lived promotions to long-lived social media.

For example, a hospital’s sleep disorder center could create a buzz by setting up a glass “bedroom” in an indoor mall and conducting an actual sleep study. Film the whole thing and let everyone who walks by know that they can go to your YouTube Channel or website to see the complete study in fast motion.  Hand out herbal tea packets with your YouTube Channel and website address and provocative information, such as:

You may not immediately recognize a sleep disorder, since some of the symptoms are often overlooked:

  • Achy or restless legs at night
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Frequent night-time urination
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Impotence
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Heavy snoring
  • Sleep walking, talking or other unusual sleep behavior

Back to the McRib lesson … most of your community will never need or experience a sleep study, but if they do or someone they know does, they’ll head to YouTube to find that fast motion video of that sleep study they saw in the mall.

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  1. […] sites with their national advertising campaigns? I’ve written about fusing old and new media, developing promotions, the power of word of mouth and effective use of public relations to bolster your social media […]

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