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Ads vs. Reality - Fast Food

Ever felt that your fast food order didn't look quite as appetising as it did on the advert? ...


Ever felt that your fast food order didn't look quite as appetising as it did on the advert?

Photographer Dario D was fed up with disappointing purchases and decided to see how the food sold over the counter matched up to the promised product.

He bought burgers and tacos from some of the biggest chains in the United States and set them up in his studio for a professional standard photo shoot.

And the difference was clear to see.

Photographer Dario D decided to find out how many fast food products actually looked like their advert. This Big Mac couldn't reach the same height as the advertised burger
Photographer Dario D decided to find out how many fast food products actually looked like their advert. This Big Mac couldn't reach the same height as the advertised burger

Photographer Dario D decided to find out how many fast food products actually looked like their advert. This Big Mac couldn't reach the same height as the advertised burger
When the photographer opened the Big Mac, he found that it was missing most of its lettuce

Dario D even found that the advertised Big Mac would be far too big for its box
Dario D even found that the advertised Big Mac would be far too big for its box

The photographer found that most of the burgers he bought were not quite as tall as the adverts promised they would be.

In fact, Big Macs would struggle to fit inside their boxes if they matched their picture.

And another McDonald's burger, the Angus Deluxe Third Pounder, would have the same trouble.

Dario D embarked on the project following: 'a lifetime of disappointment, bafflement, and rage', posting the results on his website.

He gave Burger King's Whopper a few tries, but after slightly squashed results could only conclude: 'They need to fire the guy who does his yoga on top of the Whoppers.'

Dario D even found that the advertised Big Mac would be far too big for its box
But despite the generous lettuce, the photographer found that the advertised Angus Deluxe was another McDonald's burger that did not seem to fit in its box

For this Angus Deluxe third pounder burger, Dario D praised the amount of lettuce it came with
For this Angus Deluxe third pounder burger, Dario D praised the amount of lettuce it came with


 A McDonald's Big N' Tasty with cheese got a big green tick from Dario D as the burger that most closely matched its advert
 A McDonald's Big N' Tasty with cheese got a big green tick from Dario D as the burger that most closely matched its advert

In one side-by-side comparison, he showed the results of asking staff at different locations to make the Whopper look like its advert.

'Both times, the cashiers turned and took strangely long, careful looks, as if nobody had ever requested that before,' he said. 'They said sure.'

Out of curiosity, Dario D complained about the 'misleading' adverts.

A member of Burger King's Consumer Relations Team replied: 'One may find the Whopper Sandwich as pictured in commercials more attractive because during photo sessions, professional food stylists are used to ensure the consistency and appearance.'

The photographer gave the BK Whopper another try - but it still couldn't quite live up to its promise
The photographer gave the BK Whopper another try - but it still couldn't quite live up to its promise

Dario D then asked two different branches of Burger King to make burgers that looked like the advert - and these were the results
Dario D then asked two different branches of Burger King to make burgers that looked like the advert - and these were the results

It wasn't just burger chains where the food failed to size up to its commercial counterpart.

In Taco Bell and Jack in the Box, the tacos were thin compared with the packed shells in the adverts.

Of the Taco Bell results, he said: 'Since these tacos are pretty dry and empty, I can only tolerate them with hot sauce, which, for me, is when they become good.'

With the help of a greenscreen and rotating chair, Dario D took each product's photo at the most flattering angle he could before using digital software to show the advert and real product side-by-side.

He said: 'I gave the items as fair a chance as absolutely possible'.

 This is what the photographer, who documented his findings on his blog, was handed when he asked for Burger King's Whopper Jr burger
 This is what the photographer, who documented his findings on his blog, was handed when he asked for Burger King's Whopper Jr burger

 It wasn't just burgers that fell short of expectations. Dario D bought the crunchy taco on the right from Taco Bell, expecting something looking like the one on the left
 It wasn't just burgers that fell short of expectations. Dario D bought the crunchy taco on the right from Taco Bell, expecting something looking like the one on the left

And at U.S. brand Jack in the Box, the photographer bought four sets of tacos before deciding to photograph this pair - the best of the bunch
And at U.S. brand Jack in the Box, the photographer bought four sets of tacos before deciding to photograph this pair - the best of the bunch

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