A whopper of an advertising deception

12 Jan

I came across this fascinating photo series today that compares advertised fast food with the real thing.

Burger King Whopper ad versus the real thing

Taco Bell ad versus the real thing

McDonalds Angus burger too big for box

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever eaten at one of these fast food joints. To say the food never looks as good as in the carefully and skillfully art directed ads would qualify as the understatement of the year.

I love the series creator’s “slightly fluffed up” comment above the Whopper.

But all fun aside, seriously. Come on. Where is the outrage that these multi-billion dollar food ramps are able to get away with these gross deceptions?

Hungry now?


14 Responses to “A whopper of an advertising deception”

  1. mtension January 12, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    That taco looks sad. I would be so disappointed. Is it the vegetarian version?

  2. Doug Brown January 12, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Seems like the ground beef took one look at the lettuce and fled.

  3. Amy January 12, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    I saw this same photo set the other day. I also like how the photographer mentioned how he tried to make the purchased food look as good as possible by fluffing it up and showing the best angle. Didn’t help much. I’ve always wondered how they got away with this and haven’t been accused of false advertising.

  4. Doug Brown January 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    There are plenty of chuckles between the depressing lines. But my guess is the Advertising Standards regulatory bodies are fast asleep on this one. Maybe too many burgers?

  5. Bertha January 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Perhaps this can help simplify things…. or just confuse you as it did me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4Y7x2aCPzw

  6. Lindsey Maloney January 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    It seems every year the boxes and the burgers get smaller and smaller. I was trying to find a video on how they prep the “burgers” before the video shoot for the commercial, but could not. Instead I found this 70s ad. Notice how big the box was back in the day… I’m sure the burgers were too before the greasy cut backs and salary increases: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz656YOEixI

  7. Lindsey Maloney January 13, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    P.S. Doug, I’m happy you did not say, “took one look at the lettuce and leaft.” Thanks for that.

  8. Doug Brown January 13, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    > Well Bertha, I’m scratching my head but I’m doing it with a smile. That was weird and funny – thanks for sharing it.

    > Lindsey that commercial (which I remember very well) made me think of the phenomenal follow-up spot where they interviewed people on the street to have them say the ingredients backwards: “Bun seed sesame a on onions pickles cheese lettuce sauce special patties beef all two!” As a kid I used to pride myself on being able to do that on cue. Great advertising. Its just the food that sucks. Which is what the post was about!

    And by the way, I resist the temptation to use puns needlessly in the comments section when the posts themselves are so ripe with them.

  9. Chris Burdge (@b_WEST) January 13, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    That’s hilarious! I was thinking of this very thing yesterday while looking at the new ad campaign for Plus Model Mag http://ow.ly/8t5id The juxtaposition of fantasy/reality is an eye opener. A food photographer buddy of mine tells me the only time he has to use a food-prep is when shooting fast food. Caveat emptor…

  10. Doug Brown January 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    The comments section of that post was pretty lively too Chris. I don’t think you will find many people here arguing that the “real” burger is more desirable though. 🙂 I have seen some shocking things done to food over the course of my ad career to enhance visual appeal and the bigger the business, the bigger the hanky panky.

  11. Kim Perkins January 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Why should food be excused from the standards we use to market people?

    My real life self & family measure up to the advertised versions about the same way – no fluffing necessary.

  12. Doug Brown January 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Cheers Kim…fully agree. All this points to the larger issue of the credibility gap in advertising – something every agency has to have in their crosshairs if things are ever going to get better.

  13. Lindsey Maloney January 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    ahaha talented wee Doug. Great advertising indeed. I myself used to pride myself (ppffft “used to”) on being able to do the “Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear” rhyme faster than anyone else. Nothing to do with advertising, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

    Resist puns in the comment section dooo you? When the posts are already so RIPE with them dooo you?

  14. Doug Brown January 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    I dooo.

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