McDonalds is running a giveaway billed as a “thank you to our customers”. If you read the fine print in the advertisement, it turns out this giveaway is a settlement to a lawsuit. Here’s the allegation made in the complaint:
The Complaint alleges that Plaintiffs and Class Members, were deprived of the chance to win certain prizes offered as part of McDonald’s Promotional Games, as advertised and promoted by Defendants. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the promotional games were a sham because Jerome Jacobson, an employee of Simon Marketing, Inc., the company retained by McDonald’s Corporation to administer the promotional games, and others unrelated to defendants Simon Marketing, Inc. or McDonald’s Corporation, rigged the games by misappropriating many of the winning game prizes totaling at least $20 million.
It seems strange that McDonald’s is being held accountable for Simon Marketing’s mistakes. But in fact, they aren’t. The plaintiff’s defendants are attempting to hold McDonald’s responsible because that’s where the money is. McDonald’s made the calculation that it would be cheaper to settle the complaint by giving money to its customers than to go through the whole court system and give money to the lawyers.
At first blush it seems cynical and evil of McDonalds to settle a complaint with a giveaway. But when you think more about it, it seems to be a pretty creative answer.