The personal website of Chris Coyier

Does McDonald’s get paid to put toys in Happy Meals? Or do they pay for it?

I could see it going either way, can’t you? I could see Disney paying McDonald’s to put Frozen II toys in Happy Meals (along with a massive marketing campaign) to help promote the movie. I could also see McDonald’s paying Disney for the right to do that, to help sell a bunch of Happy Meals (or more like bring parents to McDonald’s).

Turns out its an “it depends” situation. In the case of Disney, which is of course a massive brand, McDonalds pays Disney:

And it’s a billion dollar deal.

For “weaker” brands, apparently there are no fees.

We were just at a McDonald’s the other day, and the Happy Meal had a “Pikmi Pop” in it, which I’d never heard of it. It’s not a movie or TV show or anything, it’s just some toy thing. Even if they are some toy phenomenon, I can’t imagine McDonald’s is paying for the right in this case, but it doesn’t sound like they are paid to do it either.