Fast Food Ads Unrealistic

Graphic by Seamus Lyman

Advertising has come a long way in America since its inception. They have gone from strange illustrations in our first newspapers to wholesome jingles in between radio shows and then short commercials after the first black and white television shows.

Now, advertising is an unavoidable aspect of our daily lives. Billboards litter every major highway of almost every state in our country, our “half hour” and “hour” television shows are actually only 20 and 45 minutes long, respectively, to account for commercials. Any movie you attend has a decently long grace period of commercials before the assigned time that you have to arrive, and you can’t go anywhere on the Internet without running into flashing banners and animations.

In a culture driven by advertising, the main concern of the people should be determining whether what they see is true or has been blown completely out of proportion in order to sell. Advertising for foods is possibly the most unreliable. This is because the “food” shown in advertisements is often not food at all. It is a version of the food they sell which has been altered with chemicals for improved appearance that make it inedible, or has been painstakingly arranged and photographed to make it look better than it could ever look when prepared by your average restaurant employee.

Fast food restaurants are some of the guiltiest parties in this practice. For example, have you ever seen those billboards where McDonald’s and Burger King’s smoothies, milkshakes, frappuccinos and other various drinks are in glasses? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think McDonald’s and Burger King own glasses. The same can be said for their food. Their fries may look good on television, but when you receive them, they are always more bent, discolored, and soggy than they appear on the screen. Their burgers may look perfectly stacked and crafted for maximum deliciousness on the menu, but they’re always lopsided and lackluster when you unwrap the wrapper and take that first bite.

So why do we stand for this substandard performance from our most popular restaurants? The main reason for overlooking the quality of the food that the college student population puts into their mouths is the price. If we can get 20 Chicken McNuggets for $4.99, what do we care what they look like? The later it gets, the more appetizing those bent fries and soggy burgers start to look.

Perhaps as a generation, if we ever manage to get jobs when we leave college and can become more discerning about the food we spend our money on, we should decide that we refuse to be duped any longer by America’s favorite fast food chains. Let’s demand a burger and fries that look good in and out of Photoshop.