This past month, two Asian college students, started a prank on McDonald’s and it went viral. Jevh Maravilla and Christian Toledo were regular visitors of the store and had recently noticed a blank wall with no posters on it. Unlike the rest of the restaurant covered in displays, this wall was empty. They also noticed that not one display in the Texas restaurant, included Asians.
So like any good prank, the students took matters into their own hands. They arranged a photoshoot, staring themselves and created a fake advertisement. They blew the photo into a giant banner and hung it on the empty wall in the restaurant. They even dressed up in disguise as McDonald’s employees when hanging up the banner. For almost two months it went unnoticed by employees and customers, that is until it went viral on Twitter.
After almost two months had past, the students decided to tweet about their prank. They tweeted a photo of the banner hung up along with the caption “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”. The tweet even got the attention of Ellen, who then hosted the students on her show. When on the show, Ellen surprised each of them with $25,000 from McDonald’s to star in a new campaign. McDonald’s turned the prank into positive PR and the two college kids got their 15 minutes of fame, plus a nice size cash payout.
This simple prank is a great example of how marketers fail to realize that not everyone fits into the same market. What technique might work for one audience, does not always work for another. This example, shows that McDonald’s needs to improve their diversity in their campaigns in order to reach more audiences.