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UH student featured in McDonald’s ad after viral post

After reaching one million likes and over 250,000 retweets on Twitter, a UH student (left) and his friend were featured in a McDonald’s ad that debuted last week. | Courtesy of Jevh Maravilla and Christian Toledo

After a UH student’s prank went viral, he appeared on multiple Houston news stations, was contacted by McDonald’s and even received $25,000 on “The Ellen Show.”

Jevh Maravilla, a communication production senior with a minor in marketing, and his friend, who does not attend UH, placed a poster they created on a blank wall in a Pearland McDonald’s featuring a picture of the two boys eating a McDonald’s burger and fries and smiling. Maravilla said they chose to do this because they noticed a lack of Asian representation in the store’s marketing.

The poster was left up for 51 days before the tweet, following Maravilla buying a McDonald’s uniform and labeling himself a “Regional Interior Coordinator” to place it on the wall.

During the boys’ appearance on Ellen, they were told that both of them were going to appear in a McDonald’s marketing campaign. The ad came out last week, and Maravilla had a cameo.

The Cougar: What happened the day of filming?

Jevh Maravilla: So it took awhile. Even though (the cameo) was two seconds, it took 15 different takes of us just high-fiving the players in the commercial, the actors. It was exhausting, but it was the best exhaustion ever. It was worth it. The filming started at 9 a.m. and it didn’t get out until 9 p.m. It was a whole 12 hours just for a 30-second commercial.

The set was so intricate. It was made from scratch, and they had over 100 extras come in and some of them recognized us. It was funny getting to know these extras and seeing all these peoples’ stories. Even the cast and the crew, I was able to talk to them and get where they came from and see how they ended up here.

It’s always nice finding out everyone’s story and seeing how we’re all here under one roof. It was nice seeing the actors, they were all fun, and it was funny because the commercial is focused on eSports but none of the actors there played any video games.

TC: Did you meet anybody interesting during the filming?

Maravilla: We met a lot of McDonald’s Corporation, their main office is in Chicago so a few of them flew over to LA for the commercial. I got to meet a few of them personally. They were so nice, they were so cool. Everything was paid for, the food, the transportation. The hotel was really nice. It was beach-side in Santa Monica.

TC: Has this experience changed your perspective on your major?

Maravilla: I’ve always wanted to do this, ever since I was 13. I was making videos where I was doing LEGO videos on my YouTube channel. It was funny though, because one of my LEGO videos got like half a million hits, but I was too embarrassed to show anyone because it’s lame now.

It’s been fun doing that and then also transitioning to normal acting with other actors in the videos. I was also able to do small short films when I was growing up, so whenever I was 13 or 14 years old that’s when I started my first short film. It was this really bad home video, but it kind of shaped who I am.

I’m so grateful for every little thing that I did, even if it was bad, because it still taught me something.

TC: Because you have a media production major and a minor in marketing, have you thought about talking to them for a job?

Maravilla: Yeah, I’ve been actually shaking a bunch of hands over there and telling them about myself, and hopefully I’m in their minds. Whenever I do graduate, I can ask them if they need anyone, and I could be there for them and work for them.

Throughout this whole experience I’ve made so many connections with people. I know people that work at Viacom, Buzzfeed, stuff like that. So it’s really cool that I have these connections and know people that know people in there so they can kind of lead me towards my passion and my dream.

TC: What is your dream job?

Maravilla: Buzzfeed is one of my dream jobs. It’s a very open dream for me, anything can really fit into that, but Buzzfeed is really high up there. I’d like to make videos and be in front of the camera.

I love Buzzfeed Unsolved. I don’t know if you saw my name tag I had when I dressed up as a McDonald’s employee to put the poster up. It said Jeff Bergara, and I got the Bergara from Ryan Bergara because it sounded, I don’t know, it felt like it fit. Then I used my name Jevh and made it into the generic Jeff.

TC: What was “The Ellen Show” like?

Maravilla: Oh that was so nerve-racking. If you’ve seen the interview, I was so nervous and my reactions were the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.  But it was exciting nonetheless. It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m so thankful and grateful for all that happened there.

Ellen was so nice. Sadly, I wasn’t able to meet her before or after shooting, so the only time I saw her was what you saw on camera. The workers there were so nice. I asked them after we were finished filming if me and my family, my friend Christian, could go get a tour of the Warner Brothers lot and they got two golf carts for us and we were able to get an exclusive tour of the lot.

It was awesome. I was in awe when I saw all the sets and stuff. There was a sound stage where they filmed “Friends” and we were able to take a picture in the entrance.

TC: Do you get stopped on campus a lot?

Maravilla: There’s a few people who have stopped me on campus and then they talk to me. Or sometimes when I’d talk to them they’d be like, “You look familiar” and I tell them I’m the McDonald’s guy and they realize. So there’s a lot of people (for) whom I catch their attention. It’s funny seeing them pause for a second and look ’cause I never thought my face would be recognizable.

TC: Do you get free McDonald’s for life?

Maravilla: I wish I did, but no, I do not. They paid me on “Ellen.” We were able to get a check for $25,000, which was the payment for the marketing campaign, which was more than fine.

The boys have autographed the poster and it will go up for auction with the proceeds going toward the Ronald McDonald House.

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