Truth in Packaging

OK, yes this is another post about me complaining about marketers. How many times have you watched a commercial for a big juicy burger – meat glistening, giant ripe tomatoes, big fluffy bun, melty cheese – so perfect you want to run out and grab it right then and there? However, you get to the restaurant and proudly order your new discovery only to be handed a soggy, limp little burger. How could this be? You saw it with your own eyes on TV. You feel betrayed! You’ve been bamboozled! What are you to do?

Wendy's Baconator

Wendy's Baconator (Ad vs Reality)

I don’t know, my friends. What can you do? The laws seem to be fairly loose around this kind of thing – but is it so wrong? I’ve been on the set of food shoots – it’s truly an art. There are professional food photographers who are very good at their job. They use all sorts of materials to get food to look good. They put gloss on the meat to make it look juicy. The use carefully calculated placement of sauces, applied by syringes. Next time you see a box of cereal, take a close look to see if there is a heaping spoonful of cereal in cold milk. Odds are, the milk is actually Elmer’s Glue. 

Should we be upset? Isn’t this just like a human model for clothes or sunglasses or makeup or something? Isn’t this just the same as seeing that shirt on a model, going to the store and buying it, only to see that you look like a turd in the exact same shirt? Kind of. The food has to be photographed to look appealing, I get it. Here’s the BIG QUESTION for the blog – how close should the actual product look in comparison to the commercial or the photo? 

Take a look at this next winner of a product lie. There’s supposedly six kids that can frolic around in this kiddie pool. Looks great – what an oasis of fun! You can go down the water slide while your friends chill in the pool. Perhaps you’d like to play basketball or ring toss? Sure – it’s all good, kids. Back to reality – I feel bad for the kids in this “reality” photo. While the two products are very similar, that is NOT the same product. The kids in the photo on the box are pixies or something. Seriously! Look at this photo and just shake your head in disbelief (well, that’s what I did). Is there no Truth-in-Packaging law? I couldn’t find one, but if somebody knows of it, please give me the details. Is this ethical?

Wow, not even close

Wow, not even close

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kuku1 said,

    It is simply outrageous. How about the “fine print”! How fine can it get? There should be a law to control the proportion of big print and small print on any one ad. And how about those details that just roll down your tv screen and are impossible to read unless you record the commercial and then play it at a slower speed !! Justice is blind but so is the law, sometimes.
    I hope those Consumer Watch Groups get a bit busier with their fight.
    Meantime you are on your own.

  2. 2

    Will Hull said,

    I felt the same way about the Wendy’s Double Stack. I used to eat them in college, we all did. They were a decent burger and you had to special order them, because they couldn’t be found on the menu; kind of like ordering “Animal Style” at In N’ Out Burger. However, when they started advertising the double stack on tv recently, I went back reminiscing about the meals I used to have and now they are skimply limp and fit in the palm of my hand when they used to be huge and really something worth the name double stack.

    Totally agree. Here is another. Remember all of the realistic sounds you heard on tv as a kid with guns, action etc. with action figures. Yeah, we all learn quickly.

    I am a fan of underpromise and overdeliver. That is my motto.

  3. 3

    jade said,

    i think the adverts are not right because they look nice on the advert then when you get them they are horrible little greasy things. STUPID !!


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