Everyone has looked at food in restaurants and fast food joints and compared it to the more appetising picture in the ads or on the menu. Personally, it doesn’t bug me that much – I know that it’s there to make the food look at its best, but a lot of people grumble and say it’s misleading.
McDonald’s in Canada has taken the rather unusual step of addressing this criticism head on and created a video that shows how they photograph a burger for an ad and compare it to one that you get in a restaurant.
At time of writing the video has been watched 1.2 million times and clearly has been carefully put together, despite its rough and ready appearance.
For example, the presenter Hope Bagozzi, a McDonald’s marketing head, gets across a key message about the picture, while looking nicer than the real thing, is the same thing. While showing the burger being prepared for photography, she says: “And here it’s important to note, that all the ingredients that Noah uses are the exact same ingredients we use in the restaurant. The exact same patties, the exact same ketchup and mustard, onions and the exact same buns…”
So, double thumbs up for a job well done by McDonald’s, right?
Well, it’s hasn’t gone down well everywhere. The Daily Mail (perhaps unsurprisingly) wrote the headline: “One McBurger with lies, please”
And if you Google search “McDonald’s Behind the Scenes”, the top result is a forum post which makes less than complimentary claims from an employee, such as revealing that it only takes 42 seconds to cook the meat that goes into a Big Mac. Whether or not these claims are true, the video has made the forum thread way more popular than it would be otherwise.
It’s a shame that McDonald’s didn’t allow comments on the YouTube video itself, which goes against the spirit of creating a ‘revealing’ video. It would be more understandable if you could comment on the Our Food, Your Questions website, so it only leaves people to comment on their own social networks, thereby removing an engagement opportunity.
You also have to remember that this video was produced by the Canadian McDonald’s, so it’s unclear if these practices apply worldwide.
That said, for all these criticisms, I applaud McDonald’s bold approach. It’s taken a perceived weakness and made a virtue of it. Looking at quiet a few comments on various sites, one of the most common one is mouth watering from its customers. What better endorsement than that?
Finally, if you’re wondering why the buns are smaller, well that’s down to the steam generated in the box that keeps the burger warm, apparently.