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McDonald’s reveals the secrets of burger primping

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#1 jnelsoninjax


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Posted 22 June 2012 - 10:49

Apparently there’s not much difference between a supermodel and a McDonald’s cheeseburger — both rely on stylists and photographers to look their best.

A YouTube video which has racked up more than two million views since it was posted this week takes viewers behind the scenes of a burger print ad for before and after juxtapositions.

It’s part of a McDonald’s initiative called “Our Food, Your Questions” which finds executives responding to direct queries from consumers, such as whether the fast-food giant uses 100 per cent beef and real eggs in its offerings.

The enterprise reflects the trend towards transparency and engagement as firms move away from “top down marketing communication,” said McMaster University marketing professor Manish Kacker.

“Companies have realized that in this age of social media they no longer control their brand messaging,” he explained.

This effort is far more effective than January’s short-lived Twitter promotion #McDStories which resulted in tweeters bashing the brand instead of sharing positive experiences, he said.

“That was more of an aggressive attempt to direct the nature of the conversation on Twitter and companies have realized that that doesn’t work. This allows the company to still be engaged yet not be perceived as being pushy or directing the conversation.”

“Behind the scenes at a McDonald’s photo shoot” was purportedly triggered by an Isabel M. from Toronto who asked “Why does your food look different in the advertising than what’s in the store?”

A camera follows McDonald’s Canada director of marketing Hope Bagozzi as she buys a quarter pounder with cheese and takes it to the company’s creative agency for a side-by-side comparison with a burger made from scratch by a food stylist.

“That (purchased) burger was made in about a minute or so, the process we go through on the average shoot takes several hours,” said Bagozzi of the procedure she refers to as the “finessing of the product.”

The stylist uses the same ingredients employed in the restaurants — beef patty, ketchup, mustard, onions, bun, pickles — but assembles them as if primping a catwalk model.

After melting the cheese with a blow dryer, he smoothes it with a palette knife and uses a syringe to apply the condiments. After the shoot, an imaging tech enhances the colour and removes blemishes from the bun.

The result is a glossy looking burger that appears almost twice the size of the store bought version.

“The less amount of retouching that we do to something, the less perfect it looks, but actually it looks more appetizing and more convincing,” said Bagozzi.

“The box that our sandwiches come in keep the sandwiches warm, so it creates a bit of a steam effect, and it does make the bun contract a little bit.”

The behind the scenes video is a “somewhat courageous move” designed to dispel “urban myth about the product,” said Ken Wong, marketing professor at Queen’s University.

“The best case scenario for McDonald’s is everybody leaves and says ‘Alright, they’re telling it straight up, they’re not hiding the stylist, but the ingredients — and that’s what we care most about because it is food — are authentic and real and none of the mythology is true.’”

#2 Steven P.

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 10:56

Honesty, who would have thought!? :p

#3 OP jnelsoninjax


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Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:08

Honesty, who would have thought!? :p

Perhaps what is more shocking is that they use real food! (notice they made an effort to state that everything was just the same as it would be in the store), imho it seems like they were really trying to 'sell' that point!

#4 vetneufuse


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Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:12

alright I never understood why people care about this, you want food not a piece of art to eat... of course they want to make it look good for ads, you want to clearly show what is on the sandwich in the picture... that doesn't mater when its going into your mouth... I never understood why people want it to look exactly like in the pictures when they get it... thats impossible when you throw it into a wrapper and into a bad where it gets smushed by the weight of everything else in the bad...

#5 Osiris


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Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:17

They usually or use to look so perfect (havent walked into or seen a maccas ad in a long while) that I would have thought they were plastic or CGI by now :p I think McDonalds is getting out and leading the pack on this one, dont think its going to increase sales much but I like the demystifying aspect of this.

#6 Tom


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Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:34

Burger surgery. I've seen it all now...

#7 Growled


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Posted 23 June 2012 - 04:12

They all do that.

#8 ArialBlue


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Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:06

Whoa, no paint, no glue, etc?

#9 Cute James

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:14

This is fascinating, thanks for posting!

#10 Simon-


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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:01

I have seen a behind the scenes of burgers before, apparently they also don't cook the beef patty right through to make it look better, and in this case the studio beef patty looks MUCH bigger than the storek one so to say it is exactly the same ingredients as the store is a bit dubious here, Aside from this, it takes a lot of guts for McDonalds CA to expose their own marketing tactics like this, when such special preparations for the camera are usually controversial, so I have a lot of respect for them that did this at all and showed as much as they did, especially showing the fact that they Photoshop it to make it look more appetizing.

#11 James7


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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:52

There is a difference between the actual burger and the photographed advertising burger.

Because this video is actually an advert (an advert that borrows from reality television conventions but is just as much constructed as any other), what is the difference between what we see in it and how they actually produce their photographs of the burgers? It pretends to be an expose, but it's as much an advert as any other.

#12 xpablo



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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:06

This is pretty standard for all photo shoots of food products. sometimes it's not even food being photographed, just something molded or carved or manufactured to make it look like food.

#13 Dotdot



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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:12

Nothing new all food is photographed like this.

#14 Brian Miller

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:25

Still false advertising.

#15 vetneufuse


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Posted 25 June 2012 - 01:26

Still false advertising.

how? you still get everything that is there, you just get a packaged version that is smushed closer together... do you seriously want food prep people to take a long time to find the perfect bun for you? in the end it all goes to the same place