Fast food pho­tog­ra­phy and law­suits: What you see isn’t what you get

A pletho­ra of law­suits over pho­tog­ra­phy hacks in fast food adver­tis­ing have made food lit­i­ga­tion one of the fastest-grow­ing areas of law, accord­ing to legal experts.
A record num­ber of law­suits have been filed since 2020 alleg­ing mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion in food mar­ket­ing against sev­er­al fast food giants, includ­ing Taco Bell, Wendy’s, McDon­ald’s, Burg­er King, and Arby’s.
Much of the evi­dence from the com­plainants in the suits con­sists of adver­tis­ing images com­pared to their real-life prod­uct inspi­ra­tions. Adver­tis­ing images have tall burg­ers with puffy buns and loads of top­pings or hearty, crunchy tacos. By com­par­i­son, real-world food is limp, life­less, and lack­ing sub­stance, accord­ing to the plain­tiffs.
Tech­niques in food pho­tog­ra­phy have been known wide­ly for sev­er­al years, with McDon­ald’s Canada’s ‘behind the scenes’ video cap­tur­ing a clas­sic quar­ter pounder with cheese gain­ing over 12 mil­lion views since 2012.
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“Here you can def­i­nite­ly see that there is a size dif­fer­ence” explains Hope Bagozzi, then-direc­tor of mar­ket­ing for McDon­ald’s Cana­da, as she com­pares the store-made burg­er with the stu­dio-made prod­uct that took hours to craft. Accord­ing to Bagozzi, the dif­fer­ence is in part attrib­ut­able to the steam trapped in the store’s serv­ing box that wilts the bun, and in par …