A Peek at Food Styling

For some reason, after somebody complained about the fact that fast food in real life is much uglier than in advertisements, McDonald’s Canada decided to take us behind the scenes and show us the intricate, “several hours”-long process behind every product photograph they issue.

The tour guide is Hope Bagozzi, head of McD’s marketing in Canada.

Hope’s hope (always wanted to type that) is undoubtedly that her matter-of-fact tone will prevent the audience from actually pondering the remarkable waste and dishonesty of the process she depicts.

Bagozzi really tips her hand near the end, however, when she attempts to claim that the reason the patty in the ads looks so much bigger and prettier than the allegedly non-primped one she buys from the allegedly unaware (yet somehow giggling and supremely compliant) counter workers is the “steam effect” from the box containing the real-world burger! ROFL. Compare that shameless howler to the footage of the “food stylist” lightly browning but distinctly not cooking the advertising patty at the 1:30 mark of the video below. (Why brown the edges if you’re about to cook the burger, as the video, after a strategic cut-away, attempts to suggest has happened?)

The real reason for the huge difference between ad and real burger patties is fat content, which, of course, shrinks and leaves a greasy, gnarly result upon actual frying. McD’s clearly avoids this process in preparing its marketing imagery. So, now we know: Hamburger patties are actually raw in food advertisement close-ups!

In any event, this is a very rare little video. Marketers are loath to lift the veil, even with careful misdirection such as Bagozzi attempts here. Definitely worth a look.

2 Replies to “A Peek at Food Styling”

  1. I wonder what is the next innovation in corporate PR going to be. And I mean as fundamental approach/technique – by now, I would say that the image of stereotypical polished, faux-concerned and chipper drone that is the protagonist of most such campaigns is utterly discredited (pretty much like the fake middle class professional smile). Is this meme not losing its impact? It has certainly lost it with me personally (I scream at my TV as soon as I spot it!). If not, we’re definitely in trouble. Or maybe I’m just oblivious of new technique and “characters” being deployed (I remember a time when I thought that the Shell commercials featuring hippie-enviromentalists- employed at shell were kind of cool…, ugh…)

  2. Awesome find, of course – all that technological advancement, and such foolish, obstensibly “nice” people in service of fake-photogaphing fake billion-dollar food – do they have portion of their minds where they confront daily the knowledge that their carefully constructed lives are complete lies? This is a version of everybody’s adult life, yet they could stop at any moment, look at the camera, and acknowledge that yes, I, Hope, or I, overweight photo guy, am a prostitute for McDonald’s fatburgers.

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