There are three truths when it comes to advertisements vs reality. First, those pants never look as good on your fat ass as they do on the model's less-fat ass. Second, the girl from the internet never looks as good as her profile picture. And finally, that fast food burger isn't going to look anything like it does in the commercial.
That doesn't mean that it won't still taste good, it just means that we have all accepted the lies that advertisements feed us on a daily basis. Nobody expects their taco from Taco Bell to be spilling from the brim with meat and toppings. I'm sure the majority of people are content with the fact that their KFC chicken bucket won't actually be overflowing and pouring off steam.
So, exactly why does the food you order in fast food restaurants look nothing like the same menu item in the commercial?
Two words: Food Stylist.
You see, your average McDonalds employee makes your burger in a matter of minutes. When preparing the food for those ads you see on TV, the food stylist takes much, much longer.
Plus, they employ plenty of little tricks to make the burger look as good as it can possibly look. In a video uploaded by McDonalds, their Canadian Director of Marketing walks us through an ad photo shoot and shows us exactly how they create the burger that you'll never actually see in real life.
First, an edge-only cooking process that obviously leaves the burger looking plumper...
Add a bit of loving care to make the condiments, cheese, and veggies look just right...
Sprinkle in a touch of photoshop:
And there you have it. The perfect, completely unrealistic Quarter Pounder w/ cheese. Check it out below:
It may be surprising to see that it's actually McDonalds that's taking the time to show this process. In their defense, they aren't really lying to you (well, the photoshopping is debatable). All of the items that go into the real burger and the ad version are the same, but it's clearly all in the preparation. Still, it's fascinating to know that the job of burger fluffer really exists.