Advertising, Behind the Scenes

McDonald's burger real vs. ad

Before it gets juicy, lets start off with some statistics. The average American watches two million television commercials by the age of 65. The first newspaper ad was in 1650 to offer a reward for 12 stolen horses.Advertising first became an academic discipline in 1900 at Northwestern.

Here it comes, brace yourself. Here’s how ads become visually appealing:

  • Meat in advertisements is only partially cooked. A hot air gun or blowtorch crisps up the edges and a final coat of oil gives it a hot, fresh-looking shine. Hamburger layers are separated with cardboard or plastic to stop them from getting soggy, and pins hold the burger in place.
  • When viewing wrist watches in advertisements, they almost always show the time 10:10. The hands frame the brand name, and it forms a smile.
  • Advertisers use older children as role models, as an image of what younger children will want to be like. That’s why in kids’ advertisements, a commercial for 8-year-olds might show 12-year-old models playing with the 8-year-old’s toy.
  • Ice cubes in beverage advertisements are typically made of acrylic so they won’t melt under hot photography lights or move around.
  • Adding laundry detergent is what makes perfectly bubbly sodas look so, well, bubbly.
  • The Mars candy company found the character ET in the movie ET: The Extra-Terrestrial so ugly that they refused to allow M&M’s to act as a lure for the creature. Instead, Reese’s Pieces were used. Sales for Reese’s Pieces went up 65% once the film was released.
  • A bowl of cereal when it sits in milk is a disaster to a shoot. Instead of milk, glue is used so the flakes stay put and crispy.
  • Many times ice cream is actually colored mashed potatoes.

Share these fun facts with your friends and see if they’ve ever noticed some of these tiny, meticulous details.

Need help producing your next advertisement? Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to provide marketing strategies through print, web, social media and video productionall in-house. At Appleton, we want to learn about your business, empower your marketing team and be your creative resource. Your marketing goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or

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