McDonald’s Video Reveals Why Your Burger Looks Worse Than the One on the Menu

Sarah B. Weir, Yahoo! blogger


Do you think certain Hollywood stars go through a lot of styling and photo retouching in order to achieve a perfect glamour shot? Well, check out this video released by McDonald's Canada that shows a cheeseburger being primped and airbrushed to look super-gorgeous for a picture.

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"Behind the scenes at a McDonald's photo shoot" features marketing director Hope Bagozzi responding to customer Isabel M. from Toronto's question, "Why does your food look different in the advertising than what is in the store?" Bagozzi says, "It's a great question, we get asked that a lot," and then purchases a Quarter Pounder with cheese and heads photo studio to show viewers where the Mickey D's advertising magic happens.

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Ketchup injection
Ketchup injection

First, the photographer snaps a digital photo of burger number one for later comparison. It looks a little sad. Then, a food stylist cooks a new burger from scratch. "That burger [from the McDonald's restaurant] was made in about a minute or so," says Bagozzi. "The process we go through on the average shoot takes several hours." She notes that all the ingredients from the beef patty to the bun to the ketchup are exactly the same in both Quarter Pounder's.

The stylist painstakingly arranges the condiments, such as pickles and onions, around the edge of the patty so they will be visible from underneath the bun. He then melts the cheese with a palette knife so it oozes delicately over the edge of the patty. Brandishing a syringe, he dots ketchup and mustard as strategically as a screen diva's beauty marks between the patty and the bun. Burger two is ready for its close up.

After a round of photo retouching that erases cheese blemishes and other imperfections, the two Quarter Pounders are pictured side by side. Bagozzi explains that burger one looks smaller, a lot smaller, because steam in the box makes it shrink.

Before and after
Before and after

Bagozzi doesn't explicitly say why McDonald's chose to spotlight their food styling process in such a candid manner. Presumably, it's to prove to all the customers who feel deflated when they receive their slightly flabby, grey burger instead of the browned and robust version on the menu that, yes, it really is the same thing. It's kind of like seeing that strapping action-hero from your favorite blockbuster in person and realizing that he must wear elevator shoes and man Spanx. Some things are just better in pictures.

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