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McDonald’s SG site crash: Did it lend more hype to its Loungewear Collection?

The recent McDelivery Loungewear Collection launch left many netizens feeling sour, as minutes after the launch of the loungewear set on Monday evening, McDonald’s Singapore’s site and app almost instantly crashed. Disappointed fans took to Facebook and Instagram to express their frustration despite the fast food giant providing updates on its Facebook page that it was working to get the site up and running.

To appease angry netizens, a McDonald’s spokesperson confirmed to Marketing that consumers who were unable to make their purchase could now order in on a dedicated pre-order site which goes live today.  When asked if there was a contingency plan put in place for the site crash and overwhelming demand, a McDonald’s spokesperson simply said the focus now is on the pre-order, and ensuring that customers get their loungewear set. “Following what had happened, our priority and passion is on our loyal customers and getting them what they want,” he added. No further comment was provided on if or not the earlier crash was something the brand anticipated.

In a conversation with Marketing, several industry professionals highlighted that the site crash for McDonald’s could have potentially added to its talkability factor.  Several also added that it should have been anticipated by the brand, given the snaking queues that generally emerge when its limited edition products such as Hello Kitty collectibles go on sale.

While the collection garnered hype and buzz which led to the spike in traffic during launch, Lina Marican, managing director of Mutant Communications said that a site crash definitely puts the promotion under even more spotlight. This may have also spurred enterprising consumers, who may otherwise not have jumped on the hype, to seize the opportunity to make a profit on Carousell, she explained.

“It’s the modern day equivalent to the Hello Kitty queues that saw some violent clashes at McDonald’s. The FOMO (fear of missing out) frenzy happens whenever it’s harder to get your hands on an item – whether it be a site crash or an official ban,” Marican explained. However, she was of the view that the McDonald’s communications team could have been on standby when the promotion went live at 6pm, with a pre-prepared strategy on reacting to any potential glitches.

“While it is always tough to anticipate how consumers will react to promotions, companies should be prepared to scale up accordingly. Setting up a separate dedicated pre-order site is a smart one, as it will not affect hungry customers who just want food,” Marican said.

Lending her insights on the matter, former honestbee and NTUC FairPrice marketer, Christina Lim said to Marketing that McDonald’s collectibles are always in great demand, and an overwhelming response should not come as a surprise. “The site and app crashing should have been anticipated,” she said, adding massive traffic can drown the site infrastructure, causing it to slow down and crash eventually. Having said that, she explained that there should always be a contingency plan, and “no brand would intentionally plan for downtime as it damages customer satisfaction, brand reputation and potential loss of sales.”

Lim, who now works as a consultant, explained that taking an online-only approach however is a smart one as it allows the brand to negate some of the logistics challenges and disruptive queues at physical stores.  Moreover, online ordering is now prevalent in Singapore.

Commenting on the added hype, Lars Voedisch, managing director, PRecious Comms said that those who did not know about the promo will definitely hear of it now as more people are talking about it. In his view, while he didn’t feel McDonald’s “orchestrated” the glitch, he also did not think the brand anticipated the situation well enough. According to Voedisch, McDonald’s  should have worked with a partner to aid in handling volume when launching marketing gimmicks.

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