Fast Food: The Ads vs. Reality

Fast food is never as good as it looks on TV

Hint: It doesn't look like this in real life.

 We eat with our eyes before our mouths, and fast food companies certainly know that. Every year, they spend millions making their food items look as appetizing as humanly possible on TV and print ads, but in reality these food items look as plain as can be — a little boring, and sometimes downright gross. For comparison’s sake, we’ve tracked down beauty shots of 10 popular fast food items as well as their real-life counterparts, and you might be surprised by how vast the difference is.

Fast Food: The Ads vs. Reality (Slideshow)

When we order, say, a Big Mac, it’s whipped up as quickly as possible, bagged, and sold to us, and we look at it just long enough to make sure it’s what we ordered before we begin downing it. On the other hand, Big Macs made for commercials or print ads are made just to be looked at, and there are full-time “food stylists” whose job it is to make sure that it looks as attractive as possible.

It takes hours to make a burger look just right for a shoot. Only the prettiest pickles, lettuce, and onions are chosen, and they need to be exposed just so. Cheese needs to be melted so it perfectly drapes over the patty. Condiments are applied with a syringe. Then after the photo is taken, it’s touched up digitally to mask any imperfections. McDonald’s Canada released a video of the entire process a couple years ago, and it’s fascinating.

So the next time you unwrap your fast food lunch expecting it to look exactly the same way it did in the commercial, prepare to be a bit disappointed. It’s not easy to make food look beautiful (even the finest restaurants spend a lot of time figuring out ways to plate their dishes to make them look as attractive as possible), and sometimes even the most unattractive foods are the most delicious. So prepare to see what some of the biggest-selling fast-food items look like in reality; it’s not going to be pretty.

Wendy’s Double Baconator:  Ad

Beef! Bacon! Cheese! Yes!

Wendy’s Double Baconator: Reality

…Or not.

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