Why McDonald’s Sponsoring the Olympics Makes Headlines

13 months.

Today when I saw a headline talking about how McDonald’s will remain a sponsor of the Olympics through 2020, I thought exactly what I was supposed to think by reading that headline:

“That’s ironic- a fast food company is giving free burgers and fries to Olympic athletes and buying ads for everyone to see during a world-wide athletic event? Isn’t that sort of defeating the purpose?”

So yes, I fell for it, Mr. Headline Maker. But then I kept thinking about it. Isn’t it sort of a double standard for us to pinpoint a major contributor of America’s malnutrition when there are plenty of others doing the same thing?

I think of how Coca-Cola is typically a sponsor of middle school and high school sports. It’s common for young athletes to receive a free t-shirt with the classic logo on it, along with the school’s name. Not to mention, when I was growing up, there were soda machines conveniently placed right outside the gym doors.

In an average can of soda, there are around 39 grams of sugar. Knowing that a tablespoon of sugar translates as 12.55 grams, that means a can of soda contains about 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Really? Think about adding 3 tablespoons of sugar into any 12 ounce serving of any kind of food. Isn’t that kind of weird? Or disgusting? Maybe even unnecessary?

Yeah, I know. There are diet sodas too, if you trust forms of aspartame. I don’t, sorry.

I’ve heard that my generation (around age 30 and younger) focuses on the planning of advertisements more than any generation before. I know it’s true for me. I’m always eager to spot ironic sponsors for any event, whether it’s for something athletic or even the ads showing up here on this site. (I’m still waiting to see a “dad ad.” on Parents.com.)

But honestly, does anyone really care about ironic sponsorship? Does McDonald’s giving Olympic athletes free food really affect our lifestyle choices anyway?

I don’t think it does. It doesn’t actually change anything. It just makes us point out the irony and makes for a light-hearted, 45 second conversation.

And then the conversation turns to Beyonce’s baby or Hostess going out of business.

To me, the most ironic thing would be to see advertisements for carrots during an athletic event.

Image: Hamster with a bar, via Shutterstock.

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