Sometimes you just have to take the initiative and do something a little bit crazy to make a statement. And sometimes crazy ideas pay off in the most surprising way, as Houston college students Jevh Maravilla and Christian Toledo found out this week when they were invited to appear on The Ellen Show to talk about their fake McDonald's poster.
Both University of Houston students and both Filipino American, Maravilla and Toledo visit their Pearland, Texas, McDonald's location pretty often. The two noticed that each McDonald's poster showed happy people of different ethnicities, but none of those posters included Asian representation. Sitting below a bare patch of wall, the two had an idea to pull an epic prank.
They set up a photo shoot, then edited the image with fake fries to get it just right. They printed up a fake McDonald's poster to look exactly like the others on the wall at the restaurant. Then they bought a McDonald's uniform from Goodwill, made a fake badge with the title "Regional Interior Coordinator," and the game was on.
With the help of some friends, they hung the poster on the blank wall (using adhesives that wouldn't cause any damage to the wall) and waited for someone from the store to notice. And waited and waited, until 51 days later, the guys posted a tweet of them sitting beneath the sign.
i noticed there was a blank wall at mcdonald's so i decided to make this fake poster of me and my friend. It's now been 51 days since i hung it up. pic.twitter.com/5OTf5aR4vm
-- J?VH M (@Jevholution) September 3, 2018
The post went viral on social media and it wasn't just McDonald's that finally noticed the stealth marketing campaign. Ellen Degeneres, well known for loving a good prank, invited the guys onto her show to talk about why they wanted to pull this particular prank on the fast food chain.
Maravilla talked about why seeing people who look like you in media is important and how he was inspired by another recent example of representation. "Crazy Rich Asians was a really big influence on me, it really pushed me over."
Toledo added, "We wanted to be like crazy middle class." (Which kicked off a funny discussion about what should be the sequel to the hit movie.)
McDonald's did contact Maravilla and invited both him and Toledo to an event at the store. The poster is coming down, but because that store is undergoing a long-planned renovation. The company has promised that the new store will do better at reflecting the community's diversity.
Degeneres surprised the two by unveiling a new billboard for her show with the three of them photoshopped together. And then she surprised them with the news that as part of their commitment to diversity, McDonald's is planning to use them in a real marketing campaign, which comes with a $25,000 paycheck for each of the guys.
Maravilla posted a picture from outside The Ellen Show and McDonald's replied with a cute tweet.
You guys earned this dream. ?'? Looking forward to more work from the best "Regional Interior Coordinators" we've ever had! ?
-- McDonald's (@McDonalds) September 19, 2018
You can watch the whole video from The Ellen Show below (and it's definitely the cure for a bad mood).