Shocking Ways Food Advertisements Control our Perception

When we watch television, or see ads on our telephones or in magazines, we all like to think, “Oh, I’d never fall for that!” But we do. That hamburger advertisement gives you a craving. Seeing a fluffy stack of pancakes on television gets your mouth watering. Within a week you’re at the store, buying syrup or waiting in line at the drive-through.

But that’s the joke. Food never looks half as good in real life as it does under the bright stage lights. The reward is never half as great as what we were expecting. So, what exactly were we expecting? And how do these advertisers put these expectations in our heads only to crush them for us?


This Room Temperature Ice Cream

Looks good, right? Everyone loves ice cream. Nothing beats the summer heat and the late-night blues better than a scoop of this ice-cold treat. But that dessert that you’re ogling? You might be a little surprised if you took a bite.

Taking pictures under hot studio lights isn’t easy for the photographer. You’re bound to get a little sweaty. Ice cream and anything else cold is also bound to get a little sweaty as well before it up and melts away. You know what doesn’t melt? Mashed potatoes. And once dyed exciting colors and studded with chocolate chips and other “mixings”, well you can hardly tell the difference until you take a bite.

Assorted ice cream

Cereal and “Milk”

Have you ever looked at the milk in photographs and felt suspicious? The cereal is so buoyant, the milk so thick. Surely, there must be something wrong with it. Maybe it’s a little old?

No, it’s just glue. If you’re not keen on digging into a big bowl of cereal and glue, then you’re actually quite unique. Doing the old switcheroo has been an advertisement trick since the birth of cereal. Cereal tastes like sadness without milk, but when you pour yourself a bowl of cereal at home, it looks a little boring. You can’t sell that.

Glue isn’t always used. Giving milk that frothy just-poured look that makes us salivate isn’t done by just shaking the bottle. This milk is inedible too. It’s mixed with dish soap!

corn flakes

The Three-Hour Burger

Fast food is fast because no one feels the passion anymore. No one feels the love. They just slap on the lettuce, throw down a glob of ketchup and toss that sandwich out the door before any more orders flood in. And who cares? It’s a beautiful thing, but why do I get a hamburger that only a mother can love while the television shows us a supermodel sandwich?

That burger you see on the television actually took hours to make. Several patties were destroyed in the making of the burger. Only the most expertly-browned patty survived. The cheese was placed with tweezers and gently melted around the edges. The ketchup? They take their tame placing that in with a syringe. You know, as you do.

And this is the story with salads and pastas as well. Every leaf and noodle is placed with intention. You can say it’s ridiculous, but it sells.

fast food hamburger, hot dog menu with burger, french fries, to

A Normal Grilled Steak

That’s what gets most of us. That sizzle of a steak. The flames on a grill. Those perfect crisscross marks on a cut of steak or chicken are drop-dead gorgeous. It’s all about that sear that makes a steak look delicious. No one wants a dried-up piece of meat. Yuck.

So how can we achieve a perfect grill at home? Shoe polish, obviously! The somewhat edible marmite will also pass. Just rub down your steak with one of those, throw it on the grill and then hand it out. No one will even taste the shoe polish (Okay, fine, they will). So, next time the Outback Steak House tells you about their flame broiled steak, wake up and smell the marmite.

Beef steak on a wooden table.

Wet and Dry

Grapes are delicious, but oddly enough on television, they’re super dry and attractive. In our own fridges they’re just a little sweaty. I advise you to hold your sweaty grapes close because you won’t want to be eating those dry grapes. To keep the perspiration away, they’re literally sprayed down with deodorant! Yum, that doesn’t sound inedible at all…

And that glass of cold wine in the same advertisement? You’re going to need your own glass of wine after you hear how they force it to sweat! Glycerin provides a beautiful shimmer for those “ice cold” and “perspiring” drinks and even those “freshly-washed” vegetables. Take a bite out of that!

Grape-grapefruit cocktail with crushed ice, selective focus

No one lies to us as sweetly as the food industry does. And guess what? We don’t mind the betrayal. We let ourselves continue to be lied to because a gorgeous burger is a lot like a unicorn; We all want to believe in the possibility of dry grapes, floating cereal, and never-melt ice cream. Now you know the wacky and wild ways food advertisements entice us.  So, don’t get too concerned if you get a craving for mashed potatoes the next time you see a Baskin Robin’s commercial. That’s simply not ice cream.

What Do You Think?

Shocking Ways Food Advertisements Control our Perception

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