7 Food Advertisement Tricks You Never Noticed

“The image above may differ from the actual product.” We see this phrase in almost every restaurant we go to. Food in commercials looks so good, all fluffy and juicy. But when we get the real package, it can be somewhat disappointing. So, how does adman manage to make food look that good? And how do they manage food to look good for the multiple hours they spend while filming? Here are the 7 food advertisement tricks you never noticed.

1. Motor oil on Pancakes

How do you like your pancake? I bet everyone would have the same answer to this question: spongy, soft, fluffy, etc. Everything a good spongy will feature, a good pancake would as well. So it is basically an oversized, round sponge. You will all know how pancakes get so soggy so fast when you pour maple syrup on them. Once soggy, they don’t look so appetizing. This is why pancakes in advertisements are topped with motor oil instead of syrup or honey. For some reason, pancakes do not absorb motor oil, therefore staying spongy and fluffy through the long filming process.

2. Potatoes for Icecream

It is a well-known fact that on-set is hot as hell because of all the lightings. People would sweat, and ice creams would melt. It is almost impossible to get a perfect cut with a real ice cream cone. So adman had to come up with an alternative that would look perfectly like ice cream, and that is mashed potatoes. I know, it might sound unreal, but trust me, they are like identical twins with different parents. Mash some potatoes, add food colorings, chocolate chunks, or other ingredients, and there you have it! Of course, the ones that actors lick are real ice cream, and certain photographers prefer to use real ice cream, but “traditionally speaking” mashed potatoes are used.

3. Paper towels in Almost Raw Chicken

Roasted chicken always looks so good on TV. They look so juicy and so big, well roasted, with no burns. Chicken never looks so good in my oven. Why would it be? In advertisements, chickens are not really roasted. They are almost raw, only cooked more a few minutes for the skin to turn brown. After the short cooking process, chickens are colored with shoe polish for a juicy effect and stuffed with paper towels to add volume. If they are roasted all the way through, they would shrink and look like the chicken lying on our plates at home. 

4. Salt in Beer

Even beer advertisements use tricks to make it look more appetizing. What would you emphasize on a beer when you are making a beer commercial? You guessed right; fizzy beer served icy cold. The beer poured in a high glass, with just the right amount of white foam, and little bubbles running up in the drink. That is what we picture when we think of beer. So advertisements are entitled to make this impression of beer alive on screen. To do so, food stylists came up with salt. From a chemistry reaction, a pinch of salt gives life to a dying beer. It creates foams and fizziness. In fact, some beer enthusiasts say that adding a pinch of salt gives a kick to the beer, so consider trying it yourself!

5. Cardboard inside Cakes

Next, cakes. The key to making food delicious is to make them look tall, fresh, and non-soggy. Spongy food should be saved from anything that can make them soaked, soggy, and floppy. Now, some of you might wonder, why would you need to do something with the cake? It is fine just the way it is. However, there IS something you can do to make it look more appetizing. It is shoving well-cut cardboards between the sheets and covering them with a bit of cream. The cream can be absorbed into the sheets, therefore shrinking the cakes making them look old. The same trick is used with a tower of pancakes as well since the cardboards make them look more fluffy and tall.

6. Shaving Cream for Whipped Cream

We like to put whipped cream on sugary sweet desserts. Whipped cream is like magic; it makes everything look delicious, and this is why they need to maintain its shape during filming. Whipped cream is pretty and decorative, makes food seem more appetizing. However, as time passes, it loses its shape and becomes watery. Then your frappuccino wouldn’t look so delicious, and your sundae would become a flooding disaster. To prevent this from happening, food stylists use shaving cream instead of whipped cream. Shaving cream lasts longer and doesn’t melt, keeping your food beautiful and appetizing. Just remember not to eat it!

7. Glue in Cereal

So, we’ve all learned that soaked food is not what advertisements prefer. Then what do they do when they make a cereal commercial? Don’t be grossed out, glue. They replace milk with white glue. Does that mean they pour glue on a bowl full of cereals? Well, don’t worry guys, that’s not what happens. A piece of wood or other stuff that fits perfectly in the bowl goes first and then the glue and then the cereal is sprinkled on top. That way, you don’t have to waste so much cereal. Also, since something sturdy is inside the bowl, cereal does not sink, remains on the surface, showing its perfect self on screen.

One might feel abandoned by the fact that what you see in advertisements is not quite real. But the advertisements are just doing their jobs. What you have to know is that these food advertisement tricks are not used to trick you into buying something that tastes and looks like crap. They just needed the best outcome of the products to encourage purchase. The methods listed above aren’t absolute; how they fashion the food they are shooting differs depending on food stylists. AND they had to come up with substitutes just so they don’t have to waste so much food. So let’s not be upset that “The image above may differ from the actual product.”. The image might be fake, but the taste isn’t.

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