If The U.S. Wins, You Win!

Oh, you people are pigs! — Krusty, “Lisa’s First Word”

Hoping to harness the nation’s patriotic fervor during the 1984 Olympics for monetary gain, Mickey D’s came up with “If The U.S. Wins, You Win!”, a clever promotional deal wherein customers would receive free burgers, etc. when the U.S. placed in various events.

But the Soviet Union, still smarting from the  U.S.’s own boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics four years before, decided to abstain from the 1984 competition (though they did host a weird Soviet knock-off, the Friendship Games, in its stead). With heavy hitters Russia and East Germany out of the picture, American dominance was assured.

For McDonald’s (or, presumably, their insurance carrier), this meant death. The U.S. took home 174 medals in 1984, down from 94 in 1976, the last Summer Olympics in which both the U.S. and the Soviets participated. And the burgers rained down like manna.

Fortunately, McDonald’s learned its lesson in future competitions…or did it?

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