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Perfect onion selection, it's like you're a surgeon in there
June 19, 2012 3:54 PM   Subscribe


 
That McDonald's is the one at the corner of Dundas and Bathurst. I like it because, roughly, as you go around three corners of that intersection, you get a McDonald's, a hospital, and a funeral home. It always struck me as the circle of life.
posted by bicyclefish at 4:04 PM on June 19, 2012 [44 favorites]


They cut out the part where the Photoshop guy drops an image of a naked woman across the meat & veggies and then brushes it out so you can baaaarely see it (whispers quickly: eat this and you will have sex).
posted by Lukenlogs at 4:07 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hmm....this is supposed to make me feel good about what I get at McD's?

I feel a bit jilted.

I think Adobe should go into the real burger touch up field, not just the digital imaging. I see a huge market for real-life retouched burgers.
posted by lampshade at 4:09 PM on June 19, 2012


Does McDonald's really need to be taking pictures of quarter pounders? I would think that they would already have thousands of pictures of quarter pounders. I'm curious as to how often they take pictures of their food - the video gave a sense of it being a frequent thing.
posted by Flunkie at 4:12 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


STUART!! DODGE AND BURN THE PICKLES!!
posted by phaedon at 4:12 PM on June 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


Surprisingly more honest and forthcoming than I would have expected, both in the actual practice and their presentation of what they do. Particularly surprising that the amount & quality of ingredients was identical to the store-bought version.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:14 PM on June 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


Hm. Just take the bull by the horns, I suppose.

I remember growing up in the '70s and '80s, and this sort of food modeling (minus the brand-obscured Macs running Photoshop) was the subject of the occasional outrage-tinged exposé in pubs like Reader's Digest. The framing around those pieces was "this is how you're being deceived!"

Having been raised on Mad Magazine, I was appropriately outraged by the phoniness of it all, and now that my son is eight, knowing about all that photographic sleight of hand is part of our conversations about fast food. McDonald's et al are trying to leverage bits of our monkey brains to get us lined up for tasty burgers, I'm trying to leverage my son's oppositional nature to get him to skip the burgers.

So, with this, McDonald's is just running an exposé on itself, taking a mildly confrontational question and answering it with as much detail as you could want in a few minutes, asking you to identify with the challenges McDonald's is facing to tell you a story about the food it's selling you, and slipping in a bit about how your food looks a little smushed because it has to be that way to still taste good by the time you get it home.

"We have to lie a little to tell a more complete truth!"

And because we're a culture that periodically confuses knowing with doing anything about what we've learned, any upset you may feel about all the cheerful and methodical deception will probably be quickly discounted because that's old news ... even McDonald's admits to it.
posted by mph at 4:14 PM on June 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


I know they're evil, but is a great marketing effort. It educates, doesn't condescend, and paints them in positive light.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:14 PM on June 19, 2012 [33 favorites]



Hmm....this is supposed to make me feel good about what I get at McD's?

I feel a bit jilted.


I felt the opposite. Same ingredients as in the picture, which was surprising. He melted the cheese some more.

Made me want a Big Mac.
posted by Avenger50 at 4:15 PM on June 19, 2012


I'd like to see the behind the scenes of the "Behind the scenes at a McDonald's photo shoot".
posted by shakespearicles at 4:15 PM on June 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


I came here to make the "whoa, surprisingly honest!" comment that ShutterBun (eponysterical!) beat me to - so instead I'll just say -

Wait, is that a BlackBerry Playbook? Being used by an actual human!?
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:15 PM on June 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


McDonalds: I know they're evil, but is a great marketing effort.
posted by stbalbach at 4:16 PM on June 19, 2012


Now I just want that perfect burger
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:17 PM on June 19, 2012


Wait, is that a BlackBerry Playbook? Being used by an actual human!?

That's a marketing executive. They do look similar, I admit.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:19 PM on June 19, 2012 [65 favorites]


Particularly surprising that the amount & quality of ingredients was identical to the store-bought version.

In the US, at least, this is a truth in advertising requirement.
posted by ook at 4:19 PM on June 19, 2012


Now I just want that perfect burger

It's at Kuma's Corner in Chicago.

Also, "food stylist?"

Someone took a wrong turn on the way through cosmetology school.
posted by R. Schlock at 4:20 PM on June 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


(cite)
The food stylist’s magic tricks face regulation from the Federal Trade Commission and its truth in advertising laws. That Crisco-powdered sugar mix can substitute for ice cream if it’s representing a generic dessert on a menu, Allaben says, but not if it’s hawking a brand name like Ben & Jerry’s. The regulations began in the late 1960s when creative types working for the Campbell Soup Co. put marbles in the bottom of a bowl to make vegetables sit near the surface, according to Allaben. When consumers made the soup at home and discovered the ingredients sinking to the bottom, she says, they complained that the company was portraying more vegetables than were actually in the can.
posted by ook at 4:23 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


"We have to lie a little to tell a more complete truth!"

Well to be fair if I was given the picture of the "real" quarter pounder I sure wouldn't be able to tell if it came with onions, pickles, ketchup or mustard.
posted by Talez at 4:27 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


OMG I am obsessed with Stuart. Can we talk about his shitty gig, spending the best years of his life clone-stamping cheeseburgers and developing first-rate scoliosis in an exposed brick design firm. SHUT THE FUCK UP STUART!

He probably went to the cleaners that morning and got that turd of a shirt pressed for the big BTS video. Stuart has no speaking lines but he's happy to be part of the team. Notice his desk is immaculate and there are only two icons on his desktop.

Also, someone really needs to remix the comments around the 2 minute mark:

Perfect onion selection?!

It's like you're a surgeon in there.

Because we've had to put things forward, the bun is.. sitting crooked! *explains with body posture*

Maybe I'll put... mustard, ketchup.. NO! Ketchup, mustard, ketchup.
posted by phaedon at 4:27 PM on June 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I hope Bagozzi is telling us the truth.
posted by davebush at 4:28 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kuma's is great, no it's amazing, if you can get in the door, but it's always a huge wait these days, worse than Hot Doug's. Check out Burger Bar for some amazing burgers with less of a wait. If you're in the 'burbs Burger Boss also makes a nice sandwich.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:28 PM on June 19, 2012


Food styling and food photography are some very intricate and interesting crafts. Especially when cinematography comes into play, with lime wedges hurtling over sizzling fajita meat during a sweepingly epic 1-second camera move. I find it so fascinating.
posted by scrowdid at 4:30 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


there are only two icons on his desktop

You don't need more than two icons on your desktop. For the most part if you regularly have more than two icons on your desktop I'd say you're doing it wrong.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:32 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Truth In Advertising Enforcement Squad! Hands up and step away from the pickles NOW!"

I believe these laws (down here in Canada's Pants) apply only to food items photographed for the purpose of advertising those items. For instance, they could surround that delicious burger with all the faked food they want to, as long as the burger itself was made of the actual ingredients. The laws don't apply to food representations in recipe pictures, though, so beware the image of Beef Wellington in your fave lite cookbook -- it's probably made entirely of artfully painted plasticine.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:32 PM on June 19, 2012


I was in a "gifted and talented" program in elementary school that basically involved getting to take an extra class when everyone else was having free reading time or whatever they were doing. It was a very eclectic class, and one of the units we had was all about advertising. I distinctly remember that marketing a hamburger was one of the video examples, where they did things like taking a hot skewer to "draw" on grill marks and split the whole burger down the back so it could be butterflied open a little bit to make it look larger than life.

Pretty mind-blowing stuff for an eight-year-old, and now that I am well past school age I wonder why stuff like this isn't part of a mandatory primary education. And in a public school no less!
posted by backseatpilot at 4:33 PM on June 19, 2012


You don't need more than two icons on your desktop.

Stuart, if you're out there, please tell us if you cleaned your desk and/or desktop for this cameo.
posted by phaedon at 4:36 PM on June 19, 2012


A facebook friend (elementary school classmate) is a food photographer/stylist and he's done stuff from McDonald's and I thought, wouldn't it be neat if Noah were -- hi Noah!

His father once brought pickling spices and jars and cucumbers (he is the heir to a vast pickle fortune, or at least the family used to own a pickle company) and we all made pickles in class, and that was when I started liking pickles though I eventually switched brand loyalty.
posted by jeather at 4:37 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


On one hand you have a team of professionals with a budget in the tens of thousands of dollars who are the best at making food look good. On the other hand you have an in-store burger that, if produced for 1 cent cheaper, will save millions of dollars for the company. I'm always surprised they don't look even more different.

I was on a shoot with an unnamed client who was getting a photo of some kind of bread for point of sale. The food stylist brought some butter to set and the client freaked out. They said "if we show butter in the photo, people wil ask for it, and the cashier will have to go get it! Do you have any idea how much money it would cost to add that many seconds to each transaction?"

These companies think in terms of massive scale. There's probably a chart that exists somewhere that measures at what point the food becomes too unpalatable. Because if McDonalds could cut any more costs on what it takes to produce a burger, they would.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 4:40 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Burger?
Fries, a small
Okay.

Drive away.
(thought)

..................
posted by Mblue at 4:41 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


At burger king, they had example photos of their double and triple Whoppers. they had obviously used Photoshop to just duplicate a patty on the triple whopper.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:43 PM on June 19, 2012


This was really fantastic, thanks!
posted by Kwine at 4:47 PM on June 19, 2012


Amused but not surprised they turned off comments on the YouTube page. Also pleasantly surprised that they didn't get all condescending, as leotrotsky notes. Well played, hamburger empire.
posted by smirkette at 5:01 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed the fact that the model burger had a rake to it to present all of the various burger innards.

Like many people in this thread, I was stunned by the level of truth behind the video, especially considering how little they try to do to spin the process. I wonder what the angle behind the angle is, though. I want to see the making-of-the-"making-of-the-burger-photography" video.
posted by RubixsQube at 5:03 PM on June 19, 2012


White Castle is better.
posted by jonmc at 5:04 PM on June 19, 2012


It's interesting, but what they didn't mention is that the burger in the shoot is still 99% frozen - he cooks the visible edges and hits the top with the grill, but in order to maintain the shape, it's still frozen. It's just like the turkeys you see advertised at Thanksgiving - but there they have actually used wood stain to color the skin, giving that roasted look.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:13 PM on June 19, 2012


Between this cynical self-exposé and the revelations about the evils of soda and Sodastream in the other thread, I'm about ready to kill myself.
posted by fatbird at 5:17 PM on June 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know, I might end my self-imposed, decades-old ban of McDonald's if everyone preparing the burgers was a *food stylist* like the photo studio guy. If my patty was attentively, carefully cooked (even on the edges!) on a shiny, clean griddle. If my cheese was lovingly and handcraftedly melted, just right. If my pickles and onions were arranged so that I could see them perfectly, thus enhancing the taste experience. And if my ketchup was strategically injected into the burger, in just the right amount.

Oh, and if the ground beef wasn't steroid-laced and containing god-knows-what animal parts and mystery goo, and if the vegetables weren't pesticide-ridden and/or genetically modified, and if it wasn't full of starch and barely digestible oil.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:18 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, if you take the time to prepare a McD's burger carefully, with attention to choosing the best of the condiments - "perfect onion selection," pickles chosen more carefully than the incoming Harvard class - and arranging them painstakingly, it looks marginally more appealing than what it is, an industrial factory food.

Now, folks, imagine how good an actual burger made from scratch out of real food can look. Let alone taste.

I find this all kinds of grossening. The idea that they're comfortable acknowledging the degree of illusion in the advertising doesn't sit well with me. "The box we use to keep the burgers warm creates kind of a steam effect, so there's some shrinking...." So show the burger the size it is when you get it served at the store, not the size it is when it is assembled in a magical fantasy lab that in the end isn't serving food to anybody. It's a cynical enterprise when the product itself is so bad, and they know it.
posted by Miko at 5:22 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The quote almost at the end was "and those are the main differences", which struck me as telling, although maybe I'm overly pessimistic.
posted by TheDonF at 5:22 PM on June 19, 2012


I'd like to see the behind the scenes of the "Behind the scenes at a McDonald's photo shoot".
This is totally disingenuous

What about behind the scenes at the bakery where the sugar is added to the dough? Or behind the scenes at the meat processing plant or poultry "farrm" where the workers are paid $7 an hour.
posted by mattoxic at 5:32 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


For some reason this reminds me of the rule that babies on TV can't wear make-up, so "newborns" on TV shows (who are ideally preemie twins (for swappability) about the same size as newborns, but older so they can be under the lights longer) are smeared in cream cheese and strawberry jelly, because you CAN smear babies with food products on TV. Because the law is weird.

And now whenever there is a heartwarming episode of Your Favorite Show where a new baby is born, you will be noticing the cream cheese and strawberry jam all over it. CAN NOT UNSEE.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:33 PM on June 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


I've been on a fair number of food shoots and you're not taking into account here is how much prep work is going on. At around 1:20 you can see another flat of buns sitting next to the table. Between those two flats, there's over a hundred buns just on the set. And those hundred were selected from the best looking batch that came out of the oven. The same with the bowls of pickles and trays of mustard. While they might be doing the minimal amount of retouching on the finished product. That burger is composed of only the most photogenic ingredients and then further manipulated.
posted by DaddyNewt at 5:36 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was too distracted by the subtle Canadian accent. "We're going to see what this is all aboot". Except it was like half way between about and aboot.
What about behind the scenes at the bakery where the sugar is added to the dough?
You realized you can't have dough without sugar, right? At least not if you want to end up with leavened, bread.
posted by delmoi at 5:38 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


That burger is composed of only the most photogenic ingredients and then further manipulated.

The kid used to do commercials (actually did a couple of McD commercials, someday I'll tell ya about when Ronald broke his leg).

That perfect item is called the "hero", which I always found a bit odd.
posted by HuronBob at 5:39 PM on June 19, 2012


I was too distracted by the subtle Canadian accent. "We're going to see what this is all aboot". Except it was like half way between about and aboot.

Yea, I kept waiting for the next "aboot" and didn't actually pay attention to what she was saying.
posted by octothorpe at 5:48 PM on June 19, 2012


Now, folks, imagine how good an actual burger made from scratch out of real food can look. Let alone taste.

Yeah. Then you try photographing it and you wonder why the fat has congealed while you're still getting the lighting right. Photographing food is really quite difficult.

That perfect item is called the "hero", which I always found a bit odd.

In film 'hero shot' refers to a character's first full presentation - when you see them make their entrance, as it were. It's a generic term for your visual ideal. If you're doing commercial photography, then your hero is a product but the presentation concept is the same.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:52 PM on June 19, 2012


I also thought this was refreshingly honest, and I was surprised that they used the actual burger. I mean, I don't think anybody can be surprised when they get a disgusting pile of molded spinal cord tissue and pink slime when they get their Big Mac, can they?

Now, folks, imagine how good an actual burger made from scratch out of real food can look. Let alone taste.

Interestingly, Five Guys doesn't even have pictures on their website.

Probably because they look kind of disgusting. But so delicious.
posted by empath at 5:52 PM on June 19, 2012


delmoi: You realized you can't have dough without sugar, right?

Well, sort of... I bake a lot of breads, and none of them have added sugar. They're not sweetened, like so much supermarket and fast food bread is, these days. The "sugars" the yeast ferment are the complex sugars found in the flour. I believe they may even be indigestible by us before the yeast and various enzymes break them down in the dough.
posted by gilrain at 5:54 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dear McDonalds,
Why does the food in your video blog, which was prepared at a McDonalds that knows they're making a burger for the Director of Marketing and her camera crew, look different from what's in the store?
posted by radwolf76 at 5:56 PM on June 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


radwolf76: Why does the food in your video blog, which was prepared at a McDonalds that knows they're making a burger for the Director of Marketing and her camera crew, look different from what's in the store?

I suppose they ensured it wasn't from under a heat lamp and maybe took a little more care, but that quarter-pounder looked pretty much exactly like the quarter-pounders from our local McD's, here. Not that I would know, or anything...
posted by gilrain at 5:59 PM on June 19, 2012


I can't help but notice that comments were disabled. Here's the obvious truth : this entire bit is a lie from end to end. The burger she bought at the beginning was designed almost as meticulously as the one made for the advertisement. Everything is glued together. That's not real mustard or ketchup.

Also, notice the glazed, Torontonian stare in her eyes. Pity this soulless beast.
posted by Yowser at 6:02 PM on June 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


In film 'hero shot' refers to a character's first full presentation - when you see them make their entrance, as it were. It's a generic term for your visual ideal. If you're doing commercial photography, then your hero is a product but the presentation concept is the same.

Yup. The term also is used in editing. So you have 20 takes of the guy eating the burger or kissing the girl or throwing the touchdown and the one you end up using is known as the "hero take."
posted by nathancaswell at 6:07 PM on June 19, 2012


I'd hit it.
posted by mazola at 6:15 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd hit it

With a heat gun, to make the cheese lie down properly.
posted by mrbill at 6:21 PM on June 19, 2012


I distinctly remember that marketing a hamburger was one of the video examples, where they did things like taking a hot skewer to "draw" on grill marks and split the whole burger down the back so it could be butterflied open a little bit to make it look larger than life.

I remember reading the same thing in Zillions (Consumer Reports kid edition, now sadly defunct). You can definitely see a wedge taken out of the patty in the back in this video, so I guess that much hasn't changed. I also seem to remember stuff like there being a cardboard insert between the bun and the patty (to prevent sogginess), and maybe something about the entire burger being sprayed with a fixative, but if that was done here there's no way to tell.
posted by bettafish at 6:37 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's a question, McDonaldsCanada:

What kind of person refers to McDonald's as a "store"?

ǝuo ǝʞɐɟ ɐ :∀
posted by Sys Rq at 6:55 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well they're sure as hell not a restaurant. Those are supposed to sell food.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:04 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I sort of want to have dinner at the photography studio. Forget the restaurant.

The hypodermic condiment dispensers are rather cool.
posted by lampshade at 7:26 PM on June 19, 2012


Sys Rq, I've worked in a couple of corporate food chains, and we (which includes the serving and kitchen staff who are really real, for real) often called the place we worked a "store".
posted by maudlin at 7:31 PM on June 19, 2012


Jim Gaffigan puts you McDonalds haters in your place in Mr. Universe. You should watch it.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq, I've worked in a couple of corporate food chains, and we (which includes the serving and kitchen staff who are really real, for real) often called the place we worked a "store".

Yeah, that's what I mean. Only people who have been McBrainwashed in an official capacity call it a store.

Real people -- which is to say, real people who are not paid corporate stooges -- don't.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2012


The hypodermic condiment dispensers are rather cool.

You mean the Dental Irrigating Syringes?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:41 PM on June 19, 2012


Real people -- which is to say, real people who are not paid corporate stooges -- don't.

Yea, hooray for 'real people' who've never worked a 'real job' for a company larger than your grandpop's backyard handyman business, right?
And by hooray I mean fuck 'em.
posted by jacalata at 7:46 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I work for wages, I'm a corporate stooge! Now where is a puppy so I can kick it?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:48 PM on June 19, 2012


you can't have dough without sugar, right?

You don't need to add any sugar. That's just a modern thing, a convenience to speed up the sponge fermentation.

Real people -- which is to say, real people who are not paid corporate stooges -- don't.

My family are real people. My SIL managed a few Starbucks for years and they called it a "store." Now they've scraped enough change together to open their own business, which serves wood-grilled gourmet pizza with local cheese and proscuitto and produce, many vegetable plates, and desserts made from scratch inhouse. They also call it a "store." They go out to eat at other "restaurants," but their own business is "the store." I also worked in a few owner-operated restaurants which the owners and those who held keys called "the store."

And as small business owners with pride, ethics, and a local focus, I would say that none of these people were "paid corporate stooges." This is just the jargon inside the business.

That doesn't make McDonald's any less reprehensible, though.
posted by Miko at 7:54 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


So that's how they polish turds...
posted by c13 at 8:01 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yea, hooray for 'real people' who've never worked a 'real job' for a company larger than your grandpop's backyard handyman business, right?
And by hooray I mean fuck 'em.


Wow. Okay. Hooray for / fuck me, then.

I meant that the "person" who wrote the "letter" to the McDonald's ad campaign was probably not a real person, but an invention of the marketeers. That's all.

Continue to rage against nothing, though, if you really want to.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:09 PM on June 19, 2012


How do you mcbrainwash an imaginary corporate stoogy not-real person?
posted by Brocktoon at 8:13 PM on June 19, 2012


THE MARKETING FIRM IS THE MCSTOOGES FOR FUCKS SAKE
posted by Sys Rq at 8:16 PM on June 19, 2012


ShutterBun (eponysterical!)

Hehe, that had not occurred to me in this case.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:18 PM on June 19, 2012


I meant that the "person" who wrote the "letter" to the McDonald's ad campaign was probably not a real person, but an invention of the marketeers. That's all.

I would never have guessed that's what you meant, because it's not what you said. You may have wanted to not imply that anyone who had worked in a corporate store was 'a corporate stooge' and not 'a real person' if you weren't trying to antagonise people.
posted by jacalata at 8:18 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I meant that the "person" who wrote the "letter" to the McDonald's ad campaign was probably not a real person, but an invention of the marketeers. That's all.

I totally believe the letter. It's such a classic that I remember a whole half-hour TV show on this sometime in the late 70s/early 80s. People love to trade trivia about how things are manipulated in "didja know?" style, and people love to rag on food companies for the difference between the advertising image and the actual product. The letter is a gimme - they probably had to choose from the hundreds of similar ones they were pawing through desperately seeking something that they could manipulate to increase trust, consumer confidence and perceived authenticity, their horribly glaring PR weaknesses.
posted by Miko at 8:22 PM on June 19, 2012


I would have assumed that "hero" burger was to distinguish from the rubber stunt burgers, which can't be shown in close-up.
posted by RobotHero at 8:22 PM on June 19, 2012


I'm a real person, and I've never worked at McDonald's, and I call it a "store". What else are you going to call it, a "restaurant"?
posted by Bugbread at 8:22 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you work for a corporation, you are a corporate stooge. That is what those words mean.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:23 PM on June 19, 2012


Or, you could be trying to make a living at something you're capable at. But feel free to make vast, unsupported generalizations about strangers; we get where you're coming from.
posted by Miko at 8:25 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


What kind of person refers to McDonald's as a "store"?

Everyone who has ever worked in fast food or quick service or any other mass-produced mass marketed food business. Because that's what locations of a franchise or large chain are called in the industry. Locations of small restaurants and local chains are also often called stores, but there's more variation there.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:25 PM on June 19, 2012


Or, you could be trying to make a living at something you're capable at. But feel free to make vast, unsupported generalizations about strangers; we get where you're coming from.

Apparently, you don't. Go and look up the word "stooge."

I'll wait.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 PM on June 19, 2012


I just did.


  • One who allows oneself to be used for another's profit or advantage; a puppet.
  • Slang someone who is taken advantage of by another
  • A person who serves merely to support or assist others, particularly in doing unpleasant work
  • derogatory a subordinate used by another to do unpleasant routine work

    I'm not impressed. Your concern here seems to be to deride people for working for corporations for the simple fact that they work for corporations. The word is a pejorative. Corporations come in many shapes and sizes and kinds and qualities. Everyone who is not fortunate(?) enough to own his or her own business works for someone, therefore everyone, including you, is a stooge being used for another's profit or advantage.

    So what's your point with the little grammar lesson? What is it you'd like to say about people who have worked for wages for some corporation at some point in their lives, that you can say so confidently without knowing them, and which doesn't apply to you or to anyone else who works for a government, a utility, a university, a police force, a library....?

  • posted by Miko at 8:39 PM on June 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I'll wait.
    posted by Miko at 8:40 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


    McDonald's has a really great product if you eat it once or twice a year. The problem is eating it once or twice a week which is a lot like smoking cigarettes in terms of the havoc that style of eating will wreak on your body.

    The last time I bought a quarter pounder with cheese (they call it a Royale' in Paris) I was surprised at the price increase over the second to last time and then googling about it informed me they have stopped putting pink slime in their hamburgers. I don't crave my next quarter pounder but I do look forward to it.
    posted by bukvich at 8:42 PM on June 19, 2012


    That was the most meta ad I've ever seen in my life. An ad about ads. Spin about spin. And yet it still feels down-to-earth and believable. Wow -- utterly fucking brilliant and flawlessly executed.
    posted by treepour at 9:15 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I'm still mad about the Happy Meal in a bag. Answer me that one, corporate stooge-like she-seems-nice Canadian mcstooge stooge!
    posted by Brocktoon at 9:22 PM on June 19, 2012


    "...because we're in a one-dimensional world..."

    mm-hm.
    posted by dontoine at 9:36 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Did anyone else watch that Food Network (?) competition show for food stylists? The first (and sadly only) time I watched it, I had no idea what it was and so thought they were joking about using WD40 on the eggs. I haven't seen it around in ages, which is too bad. The things they do to food to make it commercial-ready are fascinating.
    posted by Baethan at 9:45 PM on June 19, 2012


    The kids in grade school used to say that they didn't use milk in cereal photos; it was Elmer's glue the whole time.
    posted by Brocktoon at 10:02 PM on June 19, 2012


    Falling Down [1993] Hamburger Scene:
    [Throws real Whammy Burger onto counter] "See, This is what I'm talking about!

    Turn around, look at that [points at hero burger photo on menu board]. You see what I mean? It's plump, juicy, three inches thick.

    Now, look at this sorry, miserable, squashed thing. Can anybody tell me what's wrong with this picture? Anybody?

    Anybody at all?"
    And even carrying a submachine gun, they still didn't give him a complimentary drink.

    What is service in this country coming to?
    posted by cenoxo at 10:02 PM on June 19, 2012


    Well, at least this video wasn't "Why is the food at McDonald's so cheap?" "You ask a great question!"
    posted by calwatch at 10:08 PM on June 19, 2012


    My brother got a lifetime ban from what used to be this shitty McDonalds on Victoria Park back in the 70's, because he and his stoner friends were throwing those sliced pickles from their burgers onto the wall to see if they would stick.
    His lifetime outlived the McDonalds', I guess.
    posted by chococat at 10:24 PM on June 19, 2012


    I just wanted to see her eat a bite. I thought she was going to at the store, but no, we need to save it for later.

    If its so good, let me see you eat one.
    posted by jeffamaphone at 11:14 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Tax all of these motherfuckers until their eyes bleed, use the money for UHC.
    posted by hamida2242 at 11:26 PM on June 19, 2012


    There should be a trigger warning for those of us who have had to work on food accounts.

    You can only stare at a shot of a burger on your computer monitor - making teeny adjustments - for so long before you really begin to feel the urge to go and eat a salad or an apple. All food accounts are like that. Fresh fruit? Ensure the droplets on the fruit are perfectly placed. Ah, this is our new GMO-free, organic soda beverage; please ensure that the shot is aspirational through the use of a white background (professional white background) and keep it looking fizzy and....yeah. Fish? Sure, let's show the whole fish lying there as well as the fillets we sell but hold on is it just me or does it look like the fish is staring at you no matter what angle your view it at - guys we need to work on the eye of the fish FOR HOURS. Then go get lunch.

    It's a great way to end up on a diet, whether you want to or not.
    posted by Salmonberry at 1:18 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


    jeffamaphone: "If its so good, let me see you eat one."

    I dunno what McDonald's tastes like in Canada, but the quality apparently varies widely by country. McDonald's here in Japan is pretty goddamn tasty!
    posted by Bugbread at 1:30 AM on June 20, 2012


    This is such bullshit. I know a food artist from cooking school and this is NOT how it's done. The fact that McDonalds even felt the need to come out with this screams P.R. move in a big way anyway. Point is, why does McDonalds NEED a P.R. move like this? Any person beyond the 5th grade can smell the reeking bullshit emanating from this ad. But I plea, what's the point then? Do they have a cancer lawsuit coming up? Is it just time to dumbly educate a new generation of dumb? How fucking stupid do they think we actually are? I suppose it stands to reason that anyone who would partake in their product would be stupid enough to swallow their propaganda, but it still takes a lot of balls to me to try and polish such a loaded turd as this one.
    posted by venbear3 at 2:19 AM on June 20, 2012


    I know that McDonald's food isn't very nice, that it's all marketing, economics and sharp business practices and that the product shots are massaged to perfection in the studio.

    But I still want a burger right now, and it's only 10 am here. Stupid brain.
    posted by milkb0at at 2:20 AM on June 20, 2012


    "I suppose it stands to reason that anyone who would partake in their product would be stupid enough to swallow their propaganda..."
    posted by venbear3 at 8:19 PM on June 20

    Uh, no. I partake in their product from time to time and I see through their propaganda like I can see through a piece of paper after the fat from a Double Quarter Pounder has rendered it see-through.

    Also, why the hell is it called a Double Quarter Pounder? Shouldn't it just be a Half Pounder?

    Peace out.
    posted by Effigy2000 at 2:26 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Also, why the hell is it called a Double Quarter Pounder? Shouldn't it just be a Half Pounder?

    I KNOW. wtf.
    posted by Salmonberry at 2:30 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I KNOW. wtf.

    Yeah, but do you know what they call it in France?
    posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:20 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    This is such bullshit. I know a food artist from cooking school and this is NOT how it's done.

    How does your food artist friend say it's done? Because based on what I know about our team at work (editorial, not advertising, but similar workflow), this is pretty much how it's done.
    posted by jacquilynne at 5:29 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Wait, is that a BlackBerry Playbook? Being used by an actual human!?

    RIM is a Canadian company, it would be rude of her not to use their products (or maybe there's a lay that x% of tablets must be Canadian).
    posted by Mick at 5:37 AM on June 20, 2012


    There should be a trigger warning for those of us who have had to work on food accounts.

    You can only stare at a shot of a burger on your computer monitor - making teeny adjustments - for so long before you really begin to feel the urge to go and eat a salad or an apple.


    Funny, I recently edited a Burger King commercial (I KNOW **GASP** CORPORATE MARKETING STOOGE!!!!) and after a week I was craving a burger so bad I had to scramble to the Roebling Tea Room to devour the best burger in Brooklyn (IMO).
    posted by nathancaswell at 5:41 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    This is such bullshit. I know a food artist from cooking school and this is NOT how it's done.

    I've been on a couple food shoots and this looked pretty similar to how it's done. Big chains have company approved food stylists they fly in, you don't just work with random freelancers. You're not allowed to add anything to the product that isn't actually on it, though you can scatter "aspirational" shit all around it. Then they labor over the burger with propane torches and other weird tools of the trade trying to get it to look just right. As far as marketing shenanigans go, all I can say is I wanted to digitally stretch a burger once to make it look thicker and was basically told OH HELL NO by the legal department.
    posted by nathancaswell at 5:46 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    To be clear, I'm not saying that shenanigans don't occur in the field, just with these huge chains they're so wary of false advertising lawsuits that they have a pretty strict system in place to ensure they can defend themselves against one. It's an investment.
    posted by nathancaswell at 5:49 AM on June 20, 2012


    This is pretty much how it's done on all food shoots. Hell, it's how it work on product shoot of all sorts. You have to use the same ingredients as the retail product. You can, of course, prepare them and present them as perfectly as possible.

    I'm kind of amazed people didn't already know this. It isn't a big trade secret or anything.
    posted by Thorzdad at 5:51 AM on June 20, 2012


    Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it the key is that it has to be the same as the ingredients in the retail product - meaning the rule doesn't apply to the things you aren't selling, e.g. replacing milk with glue in a picture of breakfast cereal.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:56 AM on June 20, 2012


    ...meaning the rule doesn't apply to the things you aren't selling, e.g. replacing milk with glue in a picture of breakfast cereal.

    This is basically correct. Anything that isn't the actual product can be manipulated, so long as it doesn't affect the product. So, in your example, milk can be idealized/augmented/replaced with something that photographs well.

    There are still some restrictions. Famously, years ago, Campbells got into trouble for using clear marbles in bowls of soup in order to push all the bits of chicken and veggies to the top, in order to give the impression that their soup was chock-full of stuff. This was deemed to be misleading.
    posted by Thorzdad at 6:38 AM on June 20, 2012


    Ignoring most of the cynicism and general expectable MetaFilter idiocy to remark on the fact that McDonalds disabled comments for this video.

    Disabled YouTube comments are not an indicator of "we're trying to pull a fast one on you, better not let the masses comment!" They're an indicator of "we're fucking tired of trolls". Corporate YouTube channels are troll magnets, so if you don't want to pay a guy to monitor YouTube videos and delete shittiness like Google does then you just disable comments. Yeah yeah, I know, freedom of speech power to the people yadda yadda, but there're legitimate non-Orwellian reasons to not allow comments on every tiny little thing on the Internet. Hell, every day we see 2 or 3 good reasons not to allow comments on this site, and we have some of the best comments on the Internet.
    posted by Rory Marinich at 6:57 AM on June 20, 2012


    Some other exceptions I can think of...You can't use oddly over/undersized accessories in order to give the impression your product is larger/smaller than it actually is. For instance, you can't use a half-sized spoon to make your cereal pieces appear to be double their actual size. This also why package photos almost always carry a disclaimer somewhere in vicinity of the product image stating "Actual size" or "Product shown larger than actual size" or something similar.
    posted by Thorzdad at 6:58 AM on June 20, 2012


    You're not allowed to add anything to the product that isn't actually on it, though you can scatter "aspirational" shit all around it.

    My girlfriend pointed out to me once that this picture in a Burger King of a happy family eating at Burger King wasn't realistic- because in a real Burger King, you don't get nice china and metal cutlery.
    posted by dunkadunc at 7:11 AM on June 20, 2012


    I don't really get this outrage over photo styling. Photo styling has been a part of commercial photography pretty much since commercial photography has existed.

    Some folks just wanna be outraged, I guess. It just gets a big eyeroll from me. Must be easier to be outraged than to just accept that virtually any photo you see an any advertisement for anything has been meticulously art directed by a whole team of people who get paid to do so, and to see through it.
    posted by kaseijin at 7:45 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]



    Also, why the hell is it called a Double Quarter Pounder?

    Because it's two quarter pound patties instead of one, almost as if "double" was a term commonly used in food service for two portions of something since human language was invented. Am I missing a trick here? Or a joke?
    posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:00 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Yeah so there's really at least two different kinds of thing that get called "hamburgers." Outside of the big fast food chains there seem to be regional preferences as to whether "burger" refers by default to Thing #1 or Thing #2.

    1) There's the thing where the patty is all big and thick and juicy, basically a slice of meatloaf almost only without all the binder (though possibly with all sorts of seasonings and additions mixed in like it was meatloaf) and you only ever get one of them at a time.

    2) And then there's the thing where the patty is totally flat and grilled into submission but you get like a hundred of the little fuckers and you layer them with cheese and it's like a big greasy dobos torte. In my book this is not just a pale imitation of #1, but a totally distinct category of food, and there are places — not McDonald's, obviously — that make damn good ones.

    The double/triple terminology is totally normal for Thing #2, not just McDonald's marketroid speak but actually just what everybody calls them in places where that's the default burger format.
    posted by nebulawindphone at 8:30 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    HI I"M ON METAFILTER AND I COULD OVERTHINK A DEFAULT FORMAT OF BURGERS.
    posted by nebulawindphone at 8:31 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Disabled YouTube comments are not an indicator of "we're trying to pull a fast one on you, better not let the masses comment!" They're an indicator of "we're fucking tired of trolls".

    Disabling comments is the last refuge of the truly desperate. This whole video is massive bullshit.

    Simple: If you don't want to get comments, don't post a video to YouTube. Post it like the ad it is on your fucking lame corporate site.
    posted by mrgrimm at 10:28 AM on June 20, 2012


    I'm not saying the video isn't an attempt to put a smiling, “relatable” face on deceptive marketing techniques (though scrupulously legal, as people have pointed out), but YouTube comments are emanations from Satan's bathing-suit area and disabling them is a sign of a stable and rational mind.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:02 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: " YouTube comments are emanations from Satan's bathing-suit area and disabling them is a sign of a stable and rational mind."

    If I ever became dictator, I'd have all Youtube commenters and New York Post readers shipped off to Madagascar.

    Actually, Madagascar hasn't done anything to deserve that.
    posted by dunkadunc at 11:10 AM on June 20, 2012


    Have you seen the trailers for the third one? Sure it has.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:13 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Actually, Madagascar hasn't done anything to deserve that.

    I suspect you've never played the online game Pandemic.
    posted by jeather at 11:38 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


    This video doesn't mention one of the most common lies/hacks in food styling they were probably using: that patty was likely very undercooked inside, just enough sear on the outside to make it look done, but actually cooking it to well-done like you get at the drive through would render it smaller (through moisture loss), more grey and uneven in texture, less juicy looking, etc.

    So they make a quarter-pounder look like a much bigger burger because they're not grilling it until it's a sad, bloodless, rubbery mass that once resembled meat, because if they didn't do that to the real burgers, they would give everyone food poisoning because their beef supply isn't untainted enough to serve medium rare. They left this particular truth out of the video, somehow.
    posted by slow graffiti at 1:58 PM on June 20, 2012


    Oh, it definitely was - they don't remark on it in the video, but you see the crew using the grill to brown the edges of the burger directly, rather than cooking it all the way through.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:14 PM on June 20, 2012


    mrgrimm: "This whole video is massive bullshit."

    Yeah, they don't actually use hundreds of buns to find the most photogenic one, or carefully hand-grill individual sides of the burger, or place the fillings all at the front, or strategically place ketchup and mustard, or put on raw cheese and melt it with a pallet knife, or photoshop out any blemishes. Everything you saw is actually bullshit. The real way they make the images in those ads is ---

    Actually, I'm drawing a blank, mrgrimm. If it's all bullshit, how do they make the images of burgers they use in their ads?
    posted by Bugbread at 5:41 PM on June 20, 2012


    Who care's if it's bullshit. The goal of advertisement to enhance product desirability through misrepresentation. But in the end Mcdonalds is cheap and delicious and that's enough reason for most of us to go back for more. Oh god I hunger.
    posted by dirtyid at 5:48 PM on June 20, 2012


    You mean the grade school kids were wrong about the Elmer's glue? Sure, right, and stepping on a crack wont break my mother's back.
    posted by Brocktoon at 7:06 PM on June 20, 2012


    The real problem with the Quarter Pounder is that it's not actually a quarter pound. Sure, it's 4 oz before cooking, but the actual patty you get to eat is around 3 oz. So it's more like a Little Less Than Fifth Pounder.

    Or am I supposed to value your product based on the pre-processed ingredients, and somehow estimate their weight before you process them for me?
    posted by twoleftfeet at 5:22 AM on June 21, 2012


    The real problem with the Quarter Pounder is that it's not actually a quarter pound. Sure, it's 4 oz before cooking, but the actual patty you get to eat is around 3 oz. So it's more like a Little Less Than Fifth Pounder.

    Isn't this exactly the same as when you walk into a butcher and ask for 2 lbs of ground beef? Once you cook it it weighs substantially less.
    posted by nathancaswell at 5:33 AM on June 21, 2012


    It's not the same. When you walk into a butcher you know you're buying uncooked meat. That's what the butcher gives you; uncooked meat. When you walk into McDonald's, the value proposition is that you are buying what you are given, which is an already cooked patty of meat. They branded their product on its weight, but there's no way for the consumer to weigh the precooked weight, so it's a deceptive marketing ploy.
    posted by twoleftfeet at 6:27 AM on June 21, 2012


    It's not the same. When you walk into a butcher you know you're buying uncooked meat. That's what the butcher gives you; uncooked meat. When you walk into McDonald's, the value proposition is that you are buying what you are given, which is an already cooked patty of meat. They branded their product on its weight, but there's no way for the consumer to weigh the precooked weight, so it's a deceptive marketing ploy.

    Unless you're paying $9 or more for a burger you can be assured it's the pre-cooked weight.
    posted by Talez at 9:23 AM on June 25, 2012


    Unless you're paying $9 or more for a burger you can be assured it's the pre-cooked weight.

    Um, I don't think twoleftfeet was suggesting McDonalds would give out more meat than advertised.
    posted by Sys Rq at 9:35 AM on June 25, 2012


    I suppose my point is that every fast food places advertises pre-cooked weight. Only gourmet/expensive places really go with after cooking weight.
    posted by Talez at 9:42 AM on June 25, 2012


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