That perfectly seared, sizzling burger you just saw in a fast food commercial probably isn’t the same one you’ll end up eating. There's a good chance the bun will be squished, with the condiments spilling out and the meat looking significantly less beefy than it appeared on TV. By now, it’s common knowledge that food photographers use fake “ingredients” (like glue and motor oil) to achieve the perfect shot, but that doesn’t stop us from falling prey to food advertisements every now and then.
According to surveys conducted by custom signage company Signs.com, the worst offenders of unrealistic advertisements are Chik-fil-A, Burger King, and McDonald’s. Respondents said an advertisement of Chik-fil-A’s original chicken sandwich looked 108 percent more appetizing than the real deal, and they’d be willing to pay $2.76 more for the advertised version.
Signs.com polled more than 500 people and asked them to compare food advertisement photos with images of the real deal, which were purchased and photographed by their team members. The actual food photos were designed to resemble the advertised ones as closely as possible, but the site acknowledged that the images of real food items may vary from location to location.
Survey participants preferred photos of the actual food over the advertised one in only two cases—when real pictures of Papa John’s and Domino’s pizzas were shown. All the other foods were considered to look less desirable in real life than they did in the advertisements.
Keep scrolling to see more food comparisons, and check out Signs.com for a detailed breakdown of the survey results.