McDonald’s Photoshoot

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the title of this post would offer scantily clad females posing in red and yellow bikinis, or perhaps even some interior shots of McDonald’s “restaurants” re-designed in a particularly creative manner.

But no.  As is such with McDonald’s, this is just about the food.

We’ve all wondered why the ‘perfect’ looking burgers on the menus differ so greatly from what we are given in our take-away cartons, and (somewhat to my surprise) McDonald’s have now revealed exactly why that is.

A burger made “in about a minute or so” and purchased over the counter

A burger “styled” over many hours for a photoshoot

The secret is a painstakingly laborious “food styling” session given to each item on their menu, before being photographed and given a digital touch up (obviously).  The whole process is proudly shown off in the video below.

I’m not really surprised at this (oh come on, we all know it happens), but what I do find mildly amusing is that McDonald’s actually employs the specific role of “Food Stylist” to carefully inject ketchup and taper the melting edges of processed cheese with a hot palette knife!

The difference is quite clear, but is this form of advertising fair on the consumer?

I mean, if you bought a car based on an advert you would expect it to look the same wouldn’t you?  The wing mirrors, doors and everything else would be in the same position and of the same appearance as shown in the advert.  I’m not convinced by their stance on this being a  true and fair representation of the end product (as advertising should be), but then again I need don’t really need any more excuses to avoid fast food restaurants beyond the health aspect.

Submit your own questions to McDonald’s here, you never know – they might just answer it for you!

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9 Responses to “McDonald’s Photoshoot”


  1. 1 Swede June 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    great use of viral marketing along with utilising youtube as a ‘community marketing tool’. Yes it is slightly wrong just as models are photoshopped and that a car advert says “only £6,000. (Model shown is £14,000)” I think McDonalds have done really well in showing the ‘real’ side of them….

    • 2 inspirationalgeek June 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      very true. It’s surprising just how open and almost proud of the fact that they even photoshop the images post-photoshoot too.

      Car adverts do say that, but if you bought the (£14k) model shown then that is what you’d get. McDonald’s seem to be saying we’ll show you something, but you’ll never be able to buy this. An interesting take on advertising for sure.

      As you say though, this whole feature from them has generated a fair amount of “free marketing” and publicity for them as they are seen to be doing the honest thing.

  2. 3 Bumba June 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    No surprise. Most people comb their hair before they have their picture taken. So, why should Big Mac be any different?
    Answer: Because Big Mac is showing his buns.

  3. 6 AkephalonMuse June 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    While I do call mild shenanigans on the fact that we’ll never get to see the pretty version in our takeout bags, this is still a fast food joint, and that would likely take away from the fast.

    I’m a firm believer in the notion that we eat with all our senses, however, and some of the tricks I’ve seen here—minus the Photoshop of course, I hear that stuff’s terribly gamey—will go into the things I cook for other people now. I just think it’s kinda cool that there’s someone in charge of the aesthetics of the food.

    • 7 inspirationalgeek June 25, 2012 at 9:28 am

      very true. One of the best points made in the video was that if they didn’t rearrange the burger contents aesthetically we wouldn’t know what was in them (and possibly wouldn’t buy them). In effect, McD’s are using a form of ‘showing off’ to let us know what they are selling.

      • 8 AkephalonMuse June 26, 2012 at 7:24 am

        It’s kind of like how, in Japanese cuisine, there is a HUGE emphasis placed on the presentation/plating of a dish, because food that LOOKS good should taste good as well.

      • 9 inspirationalgeek June 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

        absolutely, there is a huge culture in Japan about food modelling and the aesthetically value assuming taste will follow. Less common in Europe, though I guess there is some merit to it.


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