Advertisements for fast food prompted more activity in the reward centers of overweight and obese teens’ brains than they did in those of lean adolescents, says a new study. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
Arnold O. Beckman High School

Opinion: Food advertisers should stop creating fake food commercials

The delicious syrup spilling over the fluffy pancakes on the television screen looks incredibly delectable to consume — if you want to drink engine oil. 

That fresh ice cream in the commercial? Fake. They’re actually mash potatoes. The appetizing steam rising out of the hot chicken wings? Fake. It’s a steamer paired with a microwaved tampon.

Everything you see in food advertisements — sorry to break it to you — is all fake. They’re not real, unless you’re okay with biting into the cardboard hidden in the cake. 

Commercials, advertisements and propaganda are tactics that all businesses can use to draw attention to their products.

More attention means that there are more consumers buying their products. More consumers means more cash earned. There’s nothing wrong with bringing attention to your product so that people are aware of its existence. 

So what then is the issue? Obviously, as a business, eating up billions of dollars is the ultimate goal. Whatever it takes, no matter how unethical or unjustified their actions may be, many businesses are willing to do whatever they can in order to cash in a lot of money. 

I somewhat understand the motivation behind these fake methods used in order to make the food appear as appealing as possible. The food businesses want to attract as many people as they can. 

I mean, money can be a motivating factor. 

But it all comes down this: consumers are tricked into buying items that are not like the expected outcome. 

They show you dramatic visuals of what the product looks like. It looks absolutely amazing. The appealing steam rising out of the fully stacked burger seems to waft out of the TV screen and into your nostrils. Take my money!  

And then you receive the burger. It’s flat and there is ketchup oozing disturbingly on the side. The cheese looks artificial and melted strangely. The meat is grainy in a weird way. There’s a single pickle in the burger. Talk about disappointment. 

It’s all false advertisement. 

If you search up about food advertisements on a search engine, all the titles have something in common. How food advertisements “trick” you, clever ways food advertisers “trick” consumers or “tricks” food advertisers uses to sell products. Food advertisers are essentially tricking you. 

There are many different ways advertisers use to make their food appear more delectable. 

Instead of pouring milk into the cereal, they place cardboard in a bowl and fill the top with white glue. Instead of placing the cake in front of the camera as it is, they take it apart like a dissection and place cardboard in between the fillings to make it appear fluffier. 

They spray hairspray onto fruits and vegetables to make them look shinier, coat cups in dish soap to create more foam for beer commercials, load mashed potatoes into a syringe and empty it into the turkey or chicken to plump it up, and burn grill marks on meat with branding iron and then coat them in shoe polish for a pop of color.

There are countless more ways that they manipulate the food. They literally have food photoshoots. They photoshop the food and use weird substitutes to make the food look more appealing than it really is. 

We have regulations that monitor fake advertising in the US, but clearly, we need more as many companies come up with B2B advertising ideas that really exploit the viewers and create a false image of a product,” according to Finances Online.

According to Finances Online, 50% of Americans believe that advertisements are honest, with 3% believing that they’re really honest and 47% believing that they’re fairly honest. It is disheartening to see so many Americans believing what they see on television will be the same product that they receive in real life. 

Imagine other businesses doing the same things as the food industry.

When you go on vacation, you expect to receive all that you requested and paid. Imagine if you paid for a trip to go to a luxury buffet, only to be directed to a shabby and dirty fast food restaurant. You would be robbed of your money. 

Imagine paying to go to college, but realizing that they do not offer a certain kind of degree like they promised. Imagine paying to receive tutoring from a certified individual, but only to realize that they lied and were actually a nobody trying to get rich. Imagine paying to get laser hair removal, only to realize that the treatment made barely any difference.

These kinds of tactics are also comparable to the unethical industrial leaders, called robber barons, during the Gilded Age in American history. These robber barons used questionable methods to gain their massive wealth.

They would try to eliminate all competition as possible through predatory pricing, monopolizing and were not truthful in their business relationships. Most people would criticize them, saying that these people gained their wealth unethically. 

Food industries gain their massive wealth with false and unethical practices. They promise that their food looks and tastes a certain way, but do not hold up to their promises like how the robber barons did not hold up to their promises in business. You are essentially being robbed of your money.

These businesses are gaining an incredible amount of money by falsely advertising their products to masses of individuals who are deceived into buying the food with high expectations. 

Food advertisements should stop falsely advertising their products.

If they want to attract customers ethically, they should present a product on television that the customers will actually receive. And if the reality is ugly, then why don’t the restaurants try to change their products to match the level of what the advertisements promise? 

Instead of earning billions from false advertisement, show something real. And if food industries don’t want to show how their food is really like, then they should live up to the high expectations they set. 

They are only creating a utopia of food but handing over a dystopia in real life.