Ad of the Day: McDonald’s Seeks Great Recipes in Top-Secret Contest for Employees

The winner gets $10,000

McDonald's seems like way too big of a company to have interesting, playful contests for employees. But the fast-food chain's Canadian operation has always had surprisingly relevant ideas (like its celebrated transparency campaign looking at what, exactly, goes into its food).

Now, McDonald's Canada has organized a fun contest for crew members—asking them to submit their own burger/wrap recipes using McDonald's ingredients for a chance to win $10,000 and other prizes. 

The challenge, developed by creative agency Cossette and the Ontario Regional McDonald's marketing team, was centered on a website,, where employees can submit their proposed menu items and the public can view and vote for the best recipes.

The contest was advertised in a fun way, too. Restaurant managers hung posters with a hidden message printed in clear varnish in crew break rooms, and gave out "secret submission forms" with redacted text suggesting a hidden message. Cossette also created the amusing video below, in which McDonald's "non-communications director" Don Ronaldson denies the existence of the whole program.

Preliminary judging has now ended. Eight semifinalists will soon be invited to McDonald's Canada headquarters, where they're work with McDonald's chefs to perfect their recipe. In the next few months, they will attend an event where they will create their recipe for judges.

The grand prize winner will receive $10,000 and a bonus $500 for their restaurant. Second place will receive $5,000, third place $2,500 and People's Choice (for most online votes) $1,000. The top dish, alas, is not expected to be added to the menu—unless, who knows, some Top Chef craziness happens and the winner just blows the judges away. 

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