A new infographic put together by FinancesOnline.com shows comparisons of various products as they are marketed compared to how they actually look in real life. Perhaps not surprising is the fact that almost every product looks inferior compared to how it was advertised, with popular items like the McDonald’s Big Mac and the Burger King Whopper looking pitiful as served from actual restaurants compared to those tasty sandwiches plastered on highway signs throughout the country.
In some cases, the companies behind these products are using synthetic materials that, from the camera’s perspective, resemble actual food but in an unrealistic way. Ice cream, for instance, is commonly substituted with mashed potatoes and various oils in advertising to make it appear solid and scrumptious. Real ice cream, it turns out, looks melty and deflated on camera and less palatable.
The same is true for products like canned chicken soup, which are typically featured steaming and bursting forth with fresh vegetables and large chunks of chicken. Anyone who has eaten an average can of Campbell’s soup, for instance, knows that actual processed soup looks bland, with just a few small bits of processed chicken and some oversaturated vegetables.
To make processed soup look more appealing in commercials, advertisers will actually place marbles or other materials at the bottom of the bowl, cover it with steaming broth, and carefully place fresh vegetables and the most appealing chunks of meat they can find in a perfect array on top. Consumers are led to believe that the soup they buy will look just like this, only to find out that the real product barely resembles actual food.
“If you drool over that gleaming pure honey flowing over steamy mashed potato you’ve seen on TV, hold your horses,” wrote David Adelman for FinancesOnline.com. “You’re likely salivating over motor oil and freshly microwaved wet tampon placed behind the potato. These are some of the common techniques used by ad people to make products more visually tantalizing in advertisements.”
False Advertising Makes People Desire Things That May Not Even Exist
Fresh vegetables are another food item commonly shown in ads as being perfectly shaped and pigmented, and dripping with dew drops. In real life, these items are actually color-mastered using computer editing, and those dew drops are actually hairspray chemicals applied specifically for the cameras, similar to the way supermodels are airbrushed for makeup commercials.
Hotels, resorts and other vacation destinations are often advertised deceptively as well. Using creative image cropping, wide angle lenses and other tricks, advertisers are able to make small patio pools, for instance, appear as though they are infinity pools pouring over into the ocean. Famous landmarks are also creatively brought into shots to make it seem as though they are closer to lodging than they actually are.
“If you think these little trade tricks are harmless or at least irritating because you’ve been had, the American Medical Association thinks they have serious consequences,” explains FinancesOnline.com. “It believes these ads of unrealistic body images are linked to eating disorders and ‘other child and adolescent health problems.'”
You can view the FinancesOnline.com infographic with side-by-side images of advertising deception here:
*Image of “hamburger” via Shutterstock