McDonald's Happy Meal charity promo goes easy on the cash

one cent
one cent

A marketing campaign for McDonald's Happy Meals in the name of supporting charities has a small note that reveals just how tiny that support is -- one penny per meal. A penny.

"It's a little disingenuous to claim you are donating money for each sale and then trying to hide the amount," owner Edgar Dworsky told Consumer Ally. "If they came out and said 'we'll donate a penny for each Happy Meal we sell,' fine. I don't wish to diminish the value of Ronald McDonald House. Just be a little more straightforward."

Dworsky, an attorney and former director of consumer education for Massachusetts, published the passing words on his site, Mouse Print, which scrutinizes fine print (a.k.a. "mouse print") on labels, contacts and advertising on behalf of consumers.

The ads for the program promote the notion that McDonald's will donate money to Ronald McDonald House Charities for every Happy Meal sold at participating restaurants.

In a press release announcing the promotion, the company said:

"Today McDonald's® announced a new in-restaurant fundraising program and online campaign benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) and local children. Beginning this summer participating McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. will donate proceeds from all daily Happy Meal® and Mighty Kids Meal® sales to RMHC - McDonald's "Charity of Choice" - benefiting more than 11,000 sick and critically ill children and their families every day."