Significant research by the American Medical Association and other organizations has determined a link between unrealistically thin models in fashion ads and eating disorders, exposing the media’s love of photoshop. But, what about food ads? Even if false food advertising is not directly linked to health consequences, these ads might be even farther from the truth than the fashion ones!
In fact, some of the fake-outs used in food advertising are so ridiculous, it’s hard to believe we would never suspect anything when we see them on TV. Check out these commonly used food ad hacks, from motor oil “syrup” to shampoo “milk.”
More noticeable are the computer-generated images of common fast food items like hamburgers and tacos that are used in television commercials and magnified in size on the walls of various fast food chains.
Grocery store packaging, also created with computer graphics, is one of the largest culprits of false advertising. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was the first time I microwaved a frozen TV dinner pictured on the box as al dente pasta with red sauce and colorful, plump vegetables to find that it was really a mushy, saucy mess with two pieces of flavorless broccoli. Check out these common discrepancies between the packaging and the real product:
Interestingly, about half of Americans still believe that ads are honest portrayals, according to yougov.com. Because these people do not deserve to be tricked, and subsequently disappointed with their purchases, it appears that this country needs stronger regulations against false advertising. But, at the same time, if seeing a beautiful (but fake) visual of a product gets you to buy it and you enjoy it all the same in its actual form, then there really is no harm done. Since companies therefore have little incentive to revert advertising images to their unedited forms, we may not see too much change in ads anytime in the near future.