In mid July, Jevh Maravilla created a fake poster for the fast food chain starring himself and his fellow Filipino friend Christian Toledo and hung it at a Pearland, Texas location. After the ad had stayed up untouched for nearly two months, Maravilla came clean on Twitter. The tweet has now been retweeted more than 250,000 times and liked nearly 1 million times.
“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,” he wrote on Sept. 2 along with photo evidence of his prank.
As a senior at the University of Houston studying media production, creating the poster was no problem—Maravilla and Toledo put it together in a month, he told CNN. But getting the poster into the restaurant was the hard part. Maravilla says he purchased a McDonald’s uniform shirt at a thrift store for $7 and snuck the fake ad onto the blank wall with the help of Toledo and one other friend.
In a YouTube video he created detailing his plans, Maravilla showed off his disguise, which also included a tie, a faux badge and a walkie talkie.
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“We both can’t believe how much attention this has been getting. I hope this can open the eyes to not just McDonald’s, but other major companies can embrace different ethnicities,” Maravilla told CNN.
The owner of the local Texas McDonald’s is keeping the poster up until this weekend, when a pre-planned restaurant renovation will begin. The new décor in the restaurant will not include photographs.
“We take pride in highlighting diversity in every aspect of our restaurants. We applaud these students’ creativity and hope to see them in our restaurants again soon,” owner-operator Mariselle Quijano tells PEOPLE.
A representative for McDonald’s corporate office echoed Quijano’s statement and tells PEOPLE that the men have graciously agreed to donate the poster for a fundraising auction next month for The Ronald McDonald House in Houston.