8 outrageous tricks used in advertisements

Published: March 21, 2016
From antacids to shoe polish, you won't believe how advertisers fool us 

From antacids to shoe polish, you won't believe how advertisers fool us PHOTO: FILE

Ever wonder why the burger on the billboard looks so much more appetising than the one you picked up from the McDonald’s drive-through? Or why the cereal never seems to turn soggy in a Kellogg’s ad? We have all the answers in this list of eight tricks that advertisers use to tempt us into buying their products.

1. Glue


Cereal tends to absorb real milk, making it soggy and pretty unappetizing, in a short time. Do they manage to film an entire Kellogg’s ad in one take, before the cereal turns ugly? Nope.

According to Mental Floss, advertisers use white glue as a substitute for milk. Yogurt or shampoo have also been known to do the trick.

2. Antacid


Anyone who has been tempted by a Coca-cola ad during a hot summer day, has been equally disappointed by the soda’s lack of fizz and condensation in reality.

That’s because your soda was missing a vital ingredient – antacid.

Advertisers add a tablet of antacid (medication used to prevent acidity), to make the soda more fizzy. Dish soap is also used for creating larger bubbles in the soda, as well as in milk, and deodorant is sprayed on the glass or bottle to give it that ‘frost.’

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3. Potatoes

Dyed scoops of mashed potatoes

With all the lights used during the filming of an ad, it’s no surprise that advertisers don’t use real scoops of ice cream in an ice cream ad. The heat from the lights and the time it takes to film would inevitably melt the product within minutes. So, potatoes are used as a replacement. Scoops of mashed potatoes are dyed different colors and used to play the role of ice cream.

Potatoes are used for a variety of other products. They’re baked into pies to provide a sturdy interior that won’t fall to pieces when a slice is taken out. They’re even loaded into syringes and injected into meat to plump up specific parts of a turkey or roast.

4. Motor oil and Fabric protector


Ever wondered why the maple syrup drizzled over a stack of pancakes on TV doesn’t seem to get absorbed by these porous breakfast treats? The answer is fabric protector.

Photographers coat pancakes with fabric protector so that the syrup doesn’t get absorbed into the flapjacks. Moreover, since maple syrup isn’t very photogenic, advertisers sometimes use motor oil as a substitute.

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5. Shoe Polish


Why does a McChicken look so much better on the billboard than the actual burger? Mostly, meat products aren’t cooked when photographed because cooking can cause them to shrink and dry out. So items like steaks and hamburgers are carefully seared with a blowtorch instead.

Grill marks are added to the meat with a branding iron and, as a finishing touch, shoe polish is applied to give the buns a more appetising colour.

6. Tweezers:


Not only are hamburger buns carefully covered with sesame seeds using a pair of tweezers and glue, noodle-based dishes are also carefully assembled using tweezers.

The placement, shape, and curvature of each noodle is set carefully in place, with these eyebrow pluckers.

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7. Fake tan: 


Contouring isn’t just for cheek-bones. It can work anywhere on the body. For weight-loss ads, a fake tan is all you need to lose 15 pounds.

The model just has to hold her breath, apply some fake tan on her stomach, smile, spread out her legs (for that thigh gap) and stand in a perfectly calculated posture.

8. Tampons and cotton balls: 


It’s important for that bowl of soup, or baked potatoes to look hot. The only way to depict the temperature of a product in print is to have steam radiating off of it.

Instead of stopping every few minutes to heat up the staged food, photographers often soak tampons or cotton balls in water, microwave them, and skillfully hide the source of the steam in the shot.

There you have it. Next time you start craving the burger on the billboard, remember: it’s just raw meat and shoe-polished buns!

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Last Man Alive
    Mar 21, 2016 - 1:20PM

    Let me add a few more:

    White paint for thick milk.
    Extensions for thick body of hair.
    Complexion enhancement at the time of post.
    Coal smoke to show cool fumes from the refrigerator.
    9 out of 10 women in a FGD research of a particular shampoo users used to claim 9 out of 10 women use this Tanteen shampoo.
    Presenting the concept and graphics of the world’s greatest soft drink ad as the launch of a local ice cream. etc. etc.

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Mar 21, 2016 - 1:35PM

    Is it not called cheating ? Recommend

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