Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of IER Partners, which has guided and strengthened brands of all sizes with savvy best practices for creating customers for life. Combining her passion of adventurous listening and working across diverse industries, her "outsider-insider" creative branding and merchandising expertise and objectivity has been valued by companies as diverse as Spanx, Ben & Jerry's, Celestial Seasonings, CHEFS and Boston Proper.  She holds an MBA and has dedicated more than 20 years to providing clients both domestic and international with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She is the author of  two books in which she shares her hands-on approach for both brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators, and BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants. You may reach her at

No brand run by sane people would willingly pay to invite people to publicly heap scorn upon it. And yet McDonald's regularly does just that. McDonald's isn't new to this kind of thing. Most notably, its #McDStories hashtag was an instant fiasco two years ago. After launching the campaign, the hashtag was hijacked by Twitter users wanting to share their jokes and not-so-fond memories of McDonald's. The campaign went so far off the rails so quickly that McDonald's got rid of the hashtag altogether. 

The fast-food chain will man the hub with up to 20 tech specialists from companies including Yahoo, Microsoft Xbox, Paypal and AOL in the coming months. Jobs will range from digital marketing and media executives to designers and mobile experts. Projects will initially focus on mobile with the business hoping to repeat the success of its partnership with wireless technology firm Qualcomm, which led to its World Cup augmented reality campaign. McDonald's also hopes the unit will help attract digital talent to the wider business.

In the latest example of how fast food restaurants are leading the charge with mobile payments, McDonald's has launched the Quick Mac mobile application to enable customers in Austria to order food and pay for it via their smartphones. McDonald's has been aggressively experimenting with a variety of mobile payments strategies in different markets around the world as it looks to unlock the magic formula for delivering the kind of consumer value that will drive adoption. The Quick Mac app is notable for combining a variety of services, including ordering, payments, offers, push notifications and geolocation.

A new McDonald's character named Happy is inspiring a different emotion among Twitter users: fear. The box-shaped creature with Gumby-like arms, eyes that pop out of the top of his head and a gaping mouth filled with large teeth was intended to promote healthier Happy Meals for kids. So far, though, it's mainly drawn alarm and ridicule on social media. Since debuting on Twitter in an official McDonald's post yesterday, Happy has elicited responses such as "I think I'm going to have nightmares," "What the f--- is that creature?" and "THAT! is scary!"

McDonald's is launching its first mobile advertising campaign that leverages Facebook and Twitter to serve up a rich media experience as part of a multichannel marketing push to promote a new line of chicken wings. The fast-food giant's campaign launched earlier this week with ad placements within the Facebook and Twitter mobile applications and the National Football League mobile site. The mobile ads tie into a bigger marketing push that McDonald's is using to get the word out about its new products, including TV spots and social media.

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