We wrote about the 84 Olympics yesterday, and today we are writing about the marketing misadventure that went along with it.
McDonald’s went all-in with their sponsorship of the Games and announced the “If the US win, you win” campaign. Customers got scratch cards with an event printed on them and if an US athlete won a medal in that event, the card holder got a free Big Mac or fries or a Coke depending on whether it was Gold, Silver or bronze.
The only slight problem was that McDonald’s based their campaign on the the US’s medal count from their last participated Games – 76 Montreal – the US had boycotted the 80 Moscow Games because of Cold War tensions. The US had won 94 medals in the Montreal Games, of which 34 were Gold. But the top two nations in that Olympics was Russia and East Germany.
Now the slight problem was that after the Moscow boycott, Eastern Bloc nations responded in kind and missed the Los Angeles Games. Which meant that in the absence of Russia and East Germany, US won far more medals than McDonald’s had expected – 174 medals with 83 Golds.
Apparently many outlet ran out of Big Macs and obviously McDonald’s made a huge loss. The Simpsons episode, Lisa’s First Word references this entire fiasco, where Krusty beings the promotion for Krusty Burger.