Clever campaign allows “flash-mob” presence to pressure McDonalds simply by a FaceBook “click” or a Twitter “tweet”
Dandenong Ranges, Victoria — 17/11/12 – The community resistance to the proposed McDonalds restaurant in the Dandenong Ranges village of Tecoma has taken a high tech twist. Utilising a growing network of social media sites the community has been able to organise dozens of protesters to take part in a “flash-mob” type activity designed to pressure McDonalds to reconsider their decision and listen to the growing discontent across the important tourist precinct.
On Friday evening (16/11/12) dozens of cars lined up around the block into the drive through at the McDonalds’ franchise in Ferntree Gully (Victoria). The action took place after a call went out via the group’s social media network to gather at a prearranged point before lining up at the store.
As each car was asked for their order the protesters replied “I want no McDonalds in Tecoma” and then delivered messages of protest to franchisee Howard Armitage. Mr Armitage has indicated that he would operate the proposed outlet in Tecoma. Flyers and bumper stickers were also distributed to the many patrons in the carpark.
Whilst this action did create some confusion in the store it was designed to be short, sharp and courteous. The protesters were well behaved and mindful of other patrons who were generally supportive of the professional “tongue in cheek” action. “McDonalds and Mr. Armitage have no desire to meet with the community so using our vast social network here was a way to take our concerns directly to the source without using anger or large disruptions” said Dandenong Ranges resident Cath Russell who took part in the action.
The action was part of a larger well organised community protest that was put in place after McDonalds used VCAT to overturn a unanimous council decision against the project. Since then thousands have signed up to the “anti-Maccas” social media campaign and thousands more have signed a petition at Change.org.
The group was buoyed by messages of support from community groups around Australia who plan to use the Tecoma action as a template for similar activities against the multinational in their own communities.
Group convener Davey Heller said “We are flabbergasted by the support we have in the community and have managed to harness its effectiveness via the internet and the social media space. An action can be planned over morning tea and put into full effect by lunchtime, the community is right behind us and is more than willing to assist at the touch of a button”
Based on the Ferntree Gully drive through action’s support by the public a series of rolling campaigns are planned in the coming weeks and months ahead.