How They Make Burgers Look Perfect In Ads

July 22, 2010 at 5:00 am 5 comments

By Chad Upton

It’s rhetorical and cliche, but why doesn’t the food you order ever look like the food in the picture?

I’ll bite — it’s because your food took a few minutes to make and the food in the picture took a few hours to style. Yes, style.

I’ve rounded up some videos that show you some of the secrets of food advertising. The first video is about burgers and it’s pretty old, but still relevant.

The next video is about pizza and it’s part of a current Domino’s promotion to send in pictures of your pizza for everyone to see.

It’s a pretty well known fact that what you see is not what you’re going to get. But, Burger King recently canceled an advertisement where they misled viewers about the size of the burger. After watching these videos, it’s no surprise how they do it.

If you want to see a nice set of side-by-side photos of what they advertise and what you get, click here.

If you are reading this post on a device that does not support videos, I’ll tell you a bit about what they contain.

The burgers are cooked very little. To make them look grilled, they are brand them with thin skewers. Then they apply food dye for color. A layer of cardboard is placed on the bottom bun so the bun doesn’t get soft. The burger patty is split on the back side, so it can be widened from the front view — this makes the burger look larger. Vegetables are piled on top of the bun and pinned in place so they don’t move. A small shot of condiments are added on the front of the burger (the side the camera is on).

The second video is all about making perfect cheese strings when a slice of pizza is removed from a pizza pie. They go through all of the cheese to make sure every piece is perfect and use a heat gun to perfectly melt the cheese around the star slice, this makes it very stringy when the slice is lifted. The rest of the pizza is screwed down, except for one slice, so the pizza doesn’t move when the one slice is lifted.

There you have it, secrets from fast food advertising.

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Entry filed under: Food and Drink. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Shannon  |  July 22, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Just yesterday my boyfriend and I were watching TV and saw an ad for one of Burger King’s new huge grossly unhealthy burgers (but that’s beside the point). He commented that the burger looked weird because it had grill marks going along the side/edge of the burger, which doesn’t make sense because if you really grill a burger, you get grill marks on the top and bottom, but how would you get them on the sides?

  • 2. Patrick  |  July 22, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Neat. This is a good secret.

  • 3. cole  |  July 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Who knew? I occasionally read a blog, the sole purpose of which was to illustrate real food vs advertising. Wish I could recall the URL now

  • 4. Mika  |  July 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks.

  • 5. T. Top  |  July 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Actually the whole “screwing the pizza into the shooting surface” was a bit of poetic license I’ve been on over 100 food shoots and I’ve never seen that done. If your hand model is moving the whole pizza you have a bad hand model or you are using rubber cement for cheese. For the grill marks on burgers it depends on the stylist but I’ve seen curling irons used by a bunch of food stylists which make nice grill marks. Oh and I’m pretty sure the “cook” in the Domino’s spots works in their marketing department – he’s not a real cook.

    Just goes to show that you can’t trust anything you see on TV.


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