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The Hipster Hamburglar Was a Social Media Hit – and a Sales Flop

The Hipster Hamburglar Was a Social Media Hit – and a Sales Flop

Bloomberg Business recently ran an article detailing how McDonald’s re-introduction of the Hamburglar character – now stylish and bearded, rather than cartoonish and creepy – created lots of social media buzz, but there was no corresponding spike in sirloin burger sales.

[Tweet “It’s essential that your messaging appeals to the audience you’re targeting on social media.”]

Any time a campaign falls so far short of expectations, it’s a good idea to do a post-mortem and try to determine what happened. In this instance, we may be looking at a disconnect between the product chosen for promotion – the third-pound sirloin burger was introduced to counter perceptions that McDonald’s food is of low quality; it is both larger and pricier than the typical McDonald’s burger – and the messaging choices. There’s no doubt that a certain segment of McDonald’s target market can be influenced by the Hamburglar – but is that segment consist of the same group of people who were looking for a more upscale burger option?

Part of the reason social media advertising is such a powerful marketing tool is the fact that we have the ability to highly target our messaging. Facebook in particular allows us to determine exactly who will see our posts, and in what quantities. But ultimately, those targeting decisions are made by the brands – not by Facebook. Facebook tries to provide some guidance and insight via their relevance score metric, but quite frankly, if McDonald’s wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ineffective advertising, Facebook is not going to stop them.

Those of us who have more limited budgets than McDonald’s enjoys will have to be more prudent. Ensuring that we’re reaching the customers we want to attract is a good first step. However, it’s equally essential to be certain that the messaging we’re sharing is messaging that will appeal to the audience we’re targeting. If there’s a disconnect between the audience and the messaging, no amount of buzz will translate into sales. You don’t have to take our word for it – you can ask the hipster Hamburglar!

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office