Ma'am, there are needles in my burger. What is this?!
October 7, 2010 2:35 PM   Subscribe

"You are being lied to" exposes?

Dearest Hive Mind,

I watched this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUjz_eiIX8k&feature=player_embedded#!

Which made sense after seeing this:
http://www.thewvsr.com/adsvsreality.htm

Basically we have a fraudulent process where glued up sesame seeds, RAW patties that are trimmed with scissors and bended and "syringe injected condiments" (Never thought I'll type that...) is the norm.

I am not naive, I know that food shots are sexed up but the depth, ingenuity and details of the technique are amusing, enlightening and mind bending.

Another example:
I saw somewhere about how to make all those weight loss/muscle building before and after shots really stand out. The before picture will have a sour faced, hunched individual in a dull colored image. Where as in the after picture, the colors are more vivid, the posture is correct, there is a smile, hairs are removed (men), and the whole body is bathed in oil to give that healthy spark. Even with a relatively minor actual muscle gain/weight loss the difference will seem striking.

So what are other examples of less than known "gray" marketing/fraud/touchups/lies/whathaveyous that are exposed in a brief and hopefully graphic manner?

Doesn't have to food related.
Could be a video, a picture or even an essay.
Bonus points for everyday type of things that we pass by without giving a second thought to.
posted by Sentus to Society & Culture (19 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
I once met a professional food photographer who told me that he used mash potato as a stand-in for ice cream because it's easier to work with.
posted by londonmark at 2:48 PM on October 7, 2010


Well, I'm always impressed by how commercials are able to sell their products as the best goddamned [product] on the market without actually saying anything of value.

Example: Crest toothpaste! No toothpaste is better! (Yeah, OK, just because Colgate toothpaste isn't better than Crest, doesn't mean it's worse.)

My personal favorite is a Multi-Grain Cheerios commercial running right now. You see a woman polish off a bowl of Cheerios, run into the bedroom to put on a hot pair of jeans, then run across the street to show off to her neighbor. "Are those the jeans?" her neighbor exclaims, "how did you do it!?" The woman says, "oh, you know, exercising, eating right, eating more whole grains..." And then the voice-over man talks and says, "studies show that people who eat more whole grains tend to have a healthier body weight."

Note that they didn't say whole grains=healthy body weight or even that multi-grain cheerios=healthy body weight. They sort of just hand-wave over the whole concept that people who eat well in general (and would therefore have a healthy body weight) generally eat more whole grains (in the course of eating well in general). But the way it's set up makes it sound like multi-grain cheerios=the best way to fit into your hot jeans. (It would piss me off more if the cereal weren't so darned tasty.)

This is called doublespeak, and it never ceases to amaze me how crafty it can get.
posted by phunniemee at 3:02 PM on October 7, 2010


When you see delicious-looking hot-from-the-oven steam rising off a dish of food in an ad or magazine... it might be steam rising from a tampon, dunked in water, microwaved and placed behind the food.
posted by WPW at 3:19 PM on October 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Food Photo Tricks: Motor oil as a stand-in for unphotogenic syrups, spray deodorant gives grapes that desirable frosty veneer, brown shoe polish so raw meat appears to be just-out-of-the-roaster succulent...

Photoshop.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:24 PM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I missed that you included "essays" in your inclusion of sources of known "gray" marketing/fraud/touchups/lies/whathaveyous. With that:

MAGIC MARKETING WORDS & PHRASES - CALL TODAY and CAPTAIN YOUR OWN SHIP!

And a tip on Ads vs Reality: avoid flash. Flash in close proximity will wash out photos, making them look cheap. Here's a Flikr discussion on shooting food, no need for Vaseline or hair spray. What you do need is a lot of diffused, directional light.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:45 PM on October 7, 2010


I saw somewhere about how to make all those weight loss/muscle building before and after shots really stand out.

Don't forget that the before/after pictures are often injured athletes. The after picture is their normal state. The before picture is "I haven't been able to train for six months because I shattered my knee."

Anyway, back to food ...

I once met a guy that poured beer for commercials. There's apparently a technique that includes:

* Using fluids other than beer.
* Adding soap to the beer.
* Adding wetting agents to the beer.
* Pouring from purpose-built bottles with special shapes you can't buy in stores.
* Pouring a ton of beer/liquid to get the right shot. You think they pour a lot? It's more than you think.
* Photoshop, After Effects, lights, camera filters, high-speed photography. And of course, CGI.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:56 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hotel fakeouts.

I think it's questionable whether this is an effective form of criticism, because I think people already know that advertising is deceptive. And with some products, like status brands, they are buying the product only because they think that the advertising tricks people. That's what status symbols are about: "We know you're too smart to be fooled, but if you buy this product, all your friends will be deceived! They'll think you're suave and sophisticated, like the guy in this ad!"

Fast food ads might have a subtext like "Eat our gross food! No-one has to know, they'll think it looks like this..." In other words, if you didn't think advertising lied, you might be embarrassed, so calling out deception in advertising makes it more effective, not less.
posted by AlsoMike at 5:03 PM on October 7, 2010


I think it's questionable whether this is an effective form of criticism, because I think people already know that advertising is deceptive.

But is that something you think when you see people in magazine, food on TV, resorts in commercials? At some level it works, otherwise why go to all that effort? In regards to food, we eat with our eyes first.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:07 PM on October 7, 2010


Those droplets of condensation on the side of every pop can, beer bottle, etc.: Glycerin from a spray bottle.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:29 PM on October 7, 2010


Oh, and toothpaste ads. They always put a huge ribbon of toothpaste on the toothbrush. That's way too much!

Also, hair care products. Look at this supermodel's hair! It's so smooth and lustrous and healthy! Yeah, um, her hair doesn't look like that because she used that shampoo. It's doubtful that her hair has actually ever been washed in that shampoo. It might not even be her hair.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:36 PM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Depending on what you mean by "lied to", you might enjoy "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. Turned my ideas of nutrition on their head - many of the ADA, FDA recommendations etc. seem pretty deceptive to me now.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 8:44 PM on October 7, 2010


The book Gotcha Capitalism might not be exactly what you're looking for, but it seems related.
posted by Lexica at 9:18 PM on October 7, 2010


Yellow colouring in margarine

Glycerin on salad leaves because it looks better than water drops
posted by the noob at 10:20 PM on October 7, 2010


Jillian Barberi was pregnant in her Nutri-System "before" photo, a fact that was not disclosed on the TV commercial.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:10 AM on October 8, 2010


Dove's Evolution ad campaign is about false standards of beauty created by makeup and photoshop. In the service of selling soap, of course, but it's still quite a powerful video.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:47 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]



Depending on what you mean by "lied to", you might enjoy "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. Turned my ideas of nutrition on their head - many of the ADA, FDA recommendations etc. seem pretty deceptive to me now.

But then, depending on what you mean by "lied to", you might like this article as well.
To me, the popularity of the Taubes book shows that if you can write well you can make people believe anything. That seems relevant to the question as well.
posted by davar at 5:21 AM on October 8, 2010


If you were to meet most photoshopped models in real life they would be about 8 feet tall and have 4 foot long legs. Her eyes would be enormous. Most people think of photoshopping as presenting a mild distortion of models, when, in fact, it's a grossly unrealistic depiction.
posted by xammerboy at 6:26 AM on October 8, 2010


Also, hair care products. Look at this supermodel's hair! It's so smooth and lustrous and healthy! Yeah, um, her hair doesn't look like that because she used that shampoo. It's doubtful that her hair has actually ever been washed in that shampoo. It might not even be her hair.

Exactly, and using hair extensions in shampoo ads is OK according to the British Advertising Standards Authority:

"[Cheryl] Cole's L'Oreal TV ad, which launched on 9 October, features the Girls Aloud singer praising the Elvive Full Restore 5 shampoo and conditioner range. She says: "My hair feels stronger, full of life, replenished with a healthy shine. It's got its mojo back."

Cole, who landed the contract to front the beauty brand in August this year, is known to use artificial hair extensions made from acrylic. Her hairdresser, Julien Guyonnet, told The Sunday Times that he last put extensions into her locks four weeks ago and before that, had given her fibre hair extensions in July.

The pop star's extensions are noted during the 30-second spot when a message appears that says "styled with some natural extensions", however it appears on screen for only two seconds."


Here's the ad in question. Did you notice the "hair extension" disclaimer?
posted by iviken at 11:17 AM on October 8, 2010


phunniemee: "best goddamned [product] on the market without actually saying anything of value. "

Similarly, every movie is "the best movie of the summer," "the hottest movie this year," etc.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:20 AM on October 10, 2010


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