Rick Wion: New Director of Social Media for McDonald’s

Rick Wion

McDonald’s has recently named Rick Wion (formerly employed by GolinHarris as Vice President of Interactive Media) Director of Social Media, AdAge reports.

Wion began his career at Apple Vacations where he developed the company’s first Web site and managed Apple’s e-commerce efforts,” we learn from his online bio at PR News Online. “As a freelance designer, Rick built more than two-dozen boutique Web sites between 1997 and 1998. Rick is active in many professional organizations, including the Society for Information Management, the Product Development Management Association and the Association of Information Technology Professionals. Wion is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Rick Wion has been handling social media projects for the fast-food chain since 2006, and was one of the founders of the McDonald’s Digital Task Force that established the company’s online marketing strategy.

Wion was involved in establishing the McDonald’s Twitter handle, @mcdonalds, and establishing the process for responding to consumer complaints, among other things, AdAge states in a report. His team also established the regulations for regional McDonald’s markets that wanted to have their own feeds.

Naturally, as soon as the news came out, the whole world of PRs and marketers rushed to applaud McDonald’s for this strategic move. McDonald’s has probably understood that social media isn’t just a passing trend, but a social phenomenon that is here to stay, and eventually to evolve into something even more powerful, on the Internet and mobile worlds. The company needed to create a new job to keep up with the times – so no need for kudos. My only surprise is that they didn’t think to do it sooner. It would also be interesting to learn why Wion and not other social media guru, more popular.

Interestingly, we learn that one of Wion’s first tasks will be to convince mommy bloggers that junk-food is healthy (in Germany, for example, that would be an easy task, since McDonald’s campaigns intensively for protection of the environment, and lobs for using local produce, procured from German farmers). TV commercials are already paving Wion’s way around the world, with slogans like “Happy Meals, Happy Me” and with children so happy to eat a greasy hamburger that can convince even the nonbelievers… Suggestion for Wion would be to hire Andrea Metcalf ASAP. She’ll convince you in a second that you can eat fast food and still eat healthy (second video below).

Porter Novelli & Golin-Harris work with Mcdonalds on the Public Relations side.

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