In 2001, Taco Bell towed a large target into the Pacific Ocean. They promised a free taco to every citizen of the U.S. if a piece of the Mir Space Station hit it upon re-entry.
The Mir Space Station was a Russian (initially Soviet) spacecraft launched in 1986. It was originally only meant to stay for five years, but remained in space until 2001, when interest in its funding ceased.
As the final part of its decommissioning, the Mir space station was to burn up during reentry into the atmosphere. It was to land over the Pacific Ocean, which Taco Bell identified as an excellent opportunity for advertising. Taco Bell brought a 40 by 40 foot target with a bell bull’s eye in the middle out into the Pacific Ocean.
In the middle was large purple writing, stating “Free Taco Here.” It was left out off the coast of Australia. Taco Bell was prepared with a large insurance policy to cover the cost of so much free food, but ultimately Mir did not hit the target and the people of the United States went home without free tacos.