Foreign brands brace for China’s consumer day

(BVO) – Pies, pies and more pies.

In China, McDonald’s is having a pi day. Get it?

That’s pi as in 3.1415, the mathematical constant you use to find the circumference of a circle.

The American fast food chain will be selling the dessert this week for half price at 3.14 yuan. That’s about fifty cents (USD).

REUTERS REPORTER, JANE LANHEE LEE,

“It’s part of a charm offensive that conveniently coincides with China’s scariest day for foreign companies which are gearing up for World Consumer Rights Day, coming up on Sunday (March 15). That’s when China’s state TV takes to the air to bash some of the biggest brands trying to do business here.”

It’s an annual ritual which has led to many major western brands coming under the microscope.

One year, Volkswagen had to recall nearly 400,000 cars after China Central TV reported customer complaints about the performance of a direct-shift gearbox.

And on another, Apple’s Tim Cook had to issue a public apology for the company’s after-sales service.

And with China’s social media frenzy, things can get out of hand.

Jessica Lee is in charge of protecting McDonald’s image here.

CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS OFFICER, MCDONALD’S (CHINA), JESSICA LEE,

“Sometimes you find something that has is related to McDonald’s and you latch on that and you run with it and it becomes a social topic and people talk about it and it leads back to our brands so that’s a great thing. (REPORTER ASKING: “Is the flip side the same too, can things go terribly wrong?”) Absolutely. And this is the beauty of social media, the Internet. You have the good and you have the bad and you always have to balance the conversation.”

In 2012 McDonald’s was targeted by state TV – a hidden camera showing frozen beef patties picked off the floor and repackaged.

But legions of fans lashed out on social media, saying if that’s all the dirt the news team could find, then they could trust the golden arches.

Foreign brands have been increasingly running afoul of Chinese authorities in recent years, but this weekend the focus will be squarely on hitting the sweet spot for the nation’s one billion plus consumers.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail