Man sues Taco Bell over deceptive ads that make its food look loaded and voluminous

Originally published at: Man sues Taco Bell over deceptive ads that make its food look loaded and voluminous | Boing Boing

Worth a try, but they’re advertisers. They lie to the fishes (as he’s told later in the movie when he whinges about the unfairness of it all).


I remember way way way back when I was a kid (okay, it was probably 1993ish so not that long ago) when we got to watch the Zillions TV shows in school (that was consumer reports for kids) where they showed how they photograph and film food for commercials.

There are two parts to it. One is that (at least then) it was often easier to have fake food, especially for filming, due to the heat of the very bright lights required. Two is that while you’re prepping up the food a lot, you might as well make it look like it should, not like it will. You spread the burger patty to make it bigger and fill out the bun. You load the food up to the front. You put something in the ice cream dish to make the ice cream pile up at the top so you can see it better in the bowl. Etc etc etc.

It’s that second part that’s been a constant issue as people find out that their burger is unattractive versus the advertising.

off on that tangent, spend some time looking up how they do those cool filmed advertisements of fruit flying into streams of chocolate - you’d think it’d just be computer graphics these days, and instead it’s robots and very real food.


now we get to include “also with volcano sauce, except it’s only back for a limited time!” what. it’s just spicy sauce. it’s literally the best thing you can get at taco bell. why mcrib it. wtf.


this is the very definition of a frivolous lawsuit.


On the one hand, the suit seems pretty ridiculous ($5/person??).

…on the other, that we all just accept that the actual thing we buy will only vaguely resemble the thing in the ad/picture is a little ridiculous in & of itself.

Must this really be the global S.O.P.:

"Oh yah, they're lying to us. It's ok, they're ALL lying to should expect that."


The flip side of this is that if Taco Bell gives you less food, that may encourage you to eat anything else, which is probably a good thing, as most food is better than Taco Bell.


I feel like there would be more merit in a lawsuit over how it doesn’t taste like it looks in the adverts…

I mean at least the fancier Tex-Mex chains, like Moe’s, somewhat taste like the ingredients you see going in.

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Not that I in any way like deceptive advertising, but this shit has been going on for a long time. I even remember learning about some of the practices in a high school marketing class. Off the top of my head, I remember the use of glue instead of milk in cereal advertisements and undercooked and painted burger patties to make the products look better in pictures. It would be great if deceptive ads would end, but my guess is this lawsuit goes nowhere.


All the burger eaters are like:

first time GIF


$5 million per person?!

I hope they mean $5, as that might have a chance in Hell.

And yet Taco Bell still hasn’t been sued over the propensity of their food to give you diarrhea?

Or maybe that’s a selling point, a chance to clean house, as it were.


I’m all for it. There’s no reason consumers should just accept companies shamelessly lying to their face about the quality and quantity of their products. Yes, it’s common practice and has been happening for years, but there are a lot of things that are common and traditional which need to stop.


My Dad took a course in food photography. Another trick is to use real food (hamburger) but quickly brown the outside then sear it with to give it the ‘black stripes’. The food is raw, fully plumped, but looks just amazing. The course he took used all real food in the exact proportions as used by the restaurant, but all carefully placed to give the most volume.


Go to Chipotle and Five Guys instead. Chipotle loads so much shit in the burritos they rip half the time and Five Guys gives you all the potatoes in Idaho if you order the fries.

And honestly, if Taco Bell is shorting you on the beef, they’re doing you a favor.


“if Taco Bell is shorting you on the “beef”, they’re doing you a favor.”



In fact, this field has a name. It’s called Food Styling. A Food Stylist is a person who makes the food look hot in the commercial by hiding a smoke source in it so it looks like it’s steaming and so on.

This field is actually really regulated. They are not allowed to fake anything. They can’t use larger portions for example, or different ingredients. However, as you say, they have a lot of tricks to make things look better.

They also freeze things because frozen things look better in photos. They don’t droop or sag or slump. So the steaming hot burger you see in an ad is frozen then has something behind it making smoke to look like steam.

This guy is going to lose his suit for all those reasons. What food stylists do is heavily regulated and all legal. They’re just really good at it now.

They all do. That’s all regulated, as I mention above. People think food photography must be lies, but it is really regulated for this exact reason. They have to use the real product made by the restaurant.

I think people assume it’s lies because they don’t understand how good Food Stylists are. There’s a level expertise that people reach in their fields where layfolk stop believing such things are possible and look for other explanations.


… most corporate chain fast food though :thinking:


They have to use the food, but they can do just about anything they want with it. If the stylist wants to pick all the chocolate chips out of an entire tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream and put all of them into a single small bowl of the ice cream, they can legally do that, because you could. You wouldn’t, because it’s stupid, but you could. The stylists really do.

And the reason all this is the way it is is that in the late 1960s, a photographer put a bunch of clear marbles into a bowl of Campbell’s soup to push all the solids up to the surface, to make it look like something other than a bowl of chickeny saltwater. There was a huge uproar when this became public knowledge: it was obviously deceptive, even though the contents of the bowl were in fact what was in the can. Sort of. Nowadays, stylists have other tricks to make soup look brimful with solid ingredients: they use an extremely shallow bowl shot to look deeper, or they photograph a spoon full of soup, mostly solids, hovering over the bowl in such a way that it hides most of the contents. They have one job, and it’s to make commercial food look better than it actually is.