McDonald's current request for marketing proposals has a clear message; marketing is an expense rather than an investment. How else can you explain a business partner working at cost? (see: no value added).
Their unusual request is quite telling of how McDonald's has landed in it's current situation. As customers gravitate to something more remarkable, McDonald's is defending the their status quo of average grub for average people. Right now, McDonald's needs its team to do their best work. However, they should realize that they will never get the work they deserve by being an unreasonable, one-sided "partner."