McDonald's pays Texas students $25,000 for viral poster prank

By Daniel Uria
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Sept. 20 (UPI) -- McDonald's paid $25,000 to two Texas college students who hung a fake poster of themselves in the eatery for months.

Jevh Maravilla and Christian Toledo appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where DeGeneres informed them McDonald's had offered to pay them each $25,000 and feature them in an ad campaign.


"McDonald's loves customers like you and they are committed to diversity and want to represent all their customers so they're going to feature you in a marketing campaign," DeGeneres told the pair.

The prank went viral after Maravilla shared a photo of the poster, saying he wanted to boost Asian representation in the advertisement posters by placing the fake ad on a blank wall in the restaurant.

Maravilla said he was inspired by the film Crazy Rich Asians and Toledo noted his friend has a reputation of coming up with elaborate pranks.

"We looked around and we saw these other posters on there and we saw there's different ethnicities," said Maravilla. "We saw that they were all people having fun and so we decided to represent ourselves as Asians to be up there as well."


The two friends went to their neighborhood event center to take photos of themselves holding McDonald's menu items and then printed them onto a large poster.

Maravilla then purchased a McDonald's uniform from a local Goodwill store and printed a fake badge to pose as a "Regional Interior Coordinator," before returning to the restaurant to hang the poster on the blank wall.

The next time he returned to the restaurant, Maravilla said he was too nervous to be recognized so he asked his mother to go inside and order for him.

"She wasn't for it at first," Maravilla said of his mother's reaction to the poster. "But when it came to my house and she saw it, she couldn't help but laugh."

Maravilla said a representative from McDonald's corporate contacted him after the prank went viral and invited the friends to an event after the store after informing them they weren't in trouble, but Toledo was skeptical.

"When he told me I was like, 'Maybe this is a trap and maybe cops are going to be there,'" Toledo joked.

The poster was eventually taken down, as the restaurant was scheduled to be renovated, but the two were happy to have inspired the company to promote more diversity.


"We wanted to be like 'Crazy Middle-Class Asians,'" Toledo said, referencing Maravilla's inspiration. "Or maybe lower middle-class."

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