McDonald's and Disney End Happy Meal Deal

10 May 2006

Burger purveyor to the planet McDonald's and the Mouse House have reacted sharply to speculation that the end of their Happy Meal marriage has been prompted by childhood obesity concerns on the part of the Walt Disney Company.

The US-headquartered titans are both insisting the demise of their 10-year relationship was mutual, decided nearly two years previously and the two will remain good - if not exclusive - friends.

The Disney's cross-promotional dalliance with McDonald's, which saw movie-character figurines packaged in a special box with a burger, fries and drink, wraps up later this year after the release of Cars and the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean.

McDonald's has denied a Los Angeles Times report that Disney wanted to distance itself from so-called junk food. It said the story was "based on Hollywood hearsay" and "a misrepresentation of the truth".

And Disney, which earned around $100 million (€78.7m; £53.8m) a year in royalties from the agreement, stressed: "To set the record straight, we have had a very positive relationship with McDonald's for the last 10 years."

The statement adds: "We look forward to a more flexible, non-exclusive relationship where we will be working with them on a case-by-case basis."

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff