According to the United Nations' World Food Programme, McDonald's "championed first" the idea to get companies to donate online and television media space for a one day campaign supporting the WFP on the UN's International Day of Peace on 21 September.
Other companies that donated space included DreamWorks Animation, Facebook, Google, MasterCard and Burger King.
TBWA, which is one of McDonald’s global agencies, created the 30-second ad with funds provided by the global burger chain. The spot is called "symbols" and features no corporate branding.
The animated spot is narrated by the actor, Liam Neeson, who says conflicts across the world mean there are now more refugees than at any time since the Second World War, before explaining how to donate to the WFP.
WFP’s executive director, Ertharin Cousin, said: "Food assistance plays a powerful role in times of conflict by saving lives and alleviating suffering.
"Food brings and keeps families together. Food security gives families hope during desperate times while eliminating the need for families to resort to extreme and harmful measures as the only option for survival."
The ad was written by Daniel Sanders and art directed by Melatan Riden. Noma Bar was the artist and Ale Accini was the animator.
In August, Burger King publicly invited McDonald’s to create a McWhopper, using meat from the former’s Whopper and the latter’s Big Mac burgers.
Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s chief executive, posted a response on social media which declined the offer.