Fast Food Adverts Vs The Real Thing

The fast food industry has a truth-in-advertising problem. And it’s probably a lot worse than you realise. These side-by-side photos show why you should never trust the marketing.

Takeaway Truth was a popular Lifehacker feature where we compared fast food advertisements to cold, hard reality. While a little artistic licence is to be expected, sometimes the differences between the poster and the real thing are ridiculous. Today, we take a look back at some of the worst offenders of all time. Look upon thy works, Ronald McDonald, and despair.

You can click on the product name to read the full, original review.

McDonald’s McMate Beef Burger

“One of the most glaring discrepancies is the size of the top buns. In the poster, it’s completely dwarfed by the larger-than-life ingredients — it almost looks like the McMate is wearing a little bread hat. In reality, the bun takes up a lot more real estate.”

KFC Nacho Box

“The most glaring difference is the lack of visible corn chips — instead of popping out like individual hors d’oeuvres, the chips were all buried at the bottom of the box. Nachos? It looks more like week-old garbage mixed with surgery leftovers.”

Hungry Jack’s Ultimate Double Whopper

“Wow. Just look at it. The only ‘whopper’ in that photo is the big fat lie Hungry Jack’s is selling us. Terrible.”

Subway Mexican Chicken Flatbread

“Herpes in bread form.”

Mad Mex Spicy Habanero Steak Quesadilla

“With apologies to our Spanish-speaking readers: Cagaste y saltaste en la caca!!! It looks like Gilbert Kane’s ruptured stomach after the xenomorph burst through it in Alien .”

McDonald’s Son Of Mac

“Oh dear. Someone appears to have sat on our burger. This is unacceptable.”

McDonald’s Bacon And Cheese Sauce Loaded Fries

“The colours are wrong, the quantities are off and the bacon looks more like grated beef jerky. Are these even the same ingredients? I’m genuinely not sure.”

KFC The Mighty Burger

“There’s clearly an implication that this is a colossal burger — perhaps the biggest you’ll ever wrap your hands around. In reality, it’s not much bigger than a Big Mac or Zinger. In other words, the poster is still fibbing even if you don’t take the burger’s scale literally.”

Carl’s Jr. Jalapeno Thickburger

“Hmmm. While the real thing is by no means disgusting, it’s also significantly less attractive than the advert would have us believe — even if you ignore Kate Upton.”

Mad Mex Baja Prawn Tacos

“Eew. The most glaring difference between the two images is the avalanche of lettuce smothering the real tacos. The advertising image has none. I specifically requested that my tacos be made to look like the poster with no extras, so I’m not sure what happened there.”

McDonald’s Real Choices Breakfast Wraps

“The English Brekkie Wrap fell apart the moment we opened the packaging while the Bacon, Egg and Tomato stuffed everything into the bottom half of the wrap. We were also disappointed by the distribution of ingredients – instead of marrying everything together, the egg, sausage and bacon were all shoved in separately, which created a layered effect. This made it nearly impossible to taste everything in one bite, an issue that the poster image clearly doesn’t suffer from.”

McDonald’s Sausage & Egg McMuffin

“It would seem that McDonald’s sloppy burger making practices have also infected the breakkie staff. Our McMuffin was a hastily slapped together mishmash of mutant-looking bread. A lazy effort.”

Red Rooster Big Aussie Burger

“As you can see, the real Big Aussie isn’t a patch on the promotional image. This usually comes down crap burger assembly, but on this occasion there certainly seems to be markedly fewer ingredients.”

Subway Bacon, Poached Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sub

“I feel it’s worth noting that I specifically asked the “sandwich artist” to make my sub look like the one on the poster.”

KFC Kentucky Burger

“The coleslaw looks completely gross and bears almost no resemblance to the poster. In place of the lovely medley of carrots, cabbags and mayo, you get a swamp of glistening, unidentifiable lumps which look suspiciously like hocked-up loogies. Lovely.”

Domino’s All Day Breakfast Pizza

“The most obvious difference between the two images is the crusts — the marketing image has toppings spilling right to the edge, whereas the real version has an expanse of empty real estate. While this could be due to a trick of perspective, it still gives a false impression of a more toppings and less crust.”

McDonald’s McMate Chickem Burger

“The McMate Chicken didn’t come with bacon as advertised. Presumably, this was an innocent oversight by a staff member but it’s not the first time we’ve had this happen during a McDonald’s Takeaway Truth.”

McDonald’s World Cup Australia Burger

“Oh dear. It would seem McDonald’s was barracking for Australia to bomb in the World Cup, if this burger is anything to go by. Disgustingly sloppy assembly, a noticeably smaller chicken patty and an inexplicably deformed bun all conspire to make this a truly awful burger. Instant red card.”

KFC Grilled Taster Box

KFC, that’s just rubbish. Where are the charred grill marks so prominently displayed on your poster? The size of the chicken piece is also considerably smaller and the chips look soggy and under-cooked.

Hungry Jack’s Deluxe Country Burger

We suppose the Deluxe Country burger isn’t too bad — if you ignore the almost complete lack of salad and the fact that the meat patty looks like a dog poo. (These are difficult things to ignore, admittedly.)

Subway Meatball Sub


Mad Mex Chorizo Quesadilla

Even allowing for the advert’s soft focus and superior lighting, it’s obvious that the real tortilla isn’t quite up to snuff. It has a prominent oily sheen and the bread’s texture is flimsier looking. The filling also appears to be less generous resulting in thinner quesadillas.

KFC Parmy Stacker Burger

Do we really even need to critique this? There’s barely any resemblance between the two burgers.

Domino’s Chef’s Best Pepperoni & Parmesan Pizza

Our Pepperoni & Parmesan Pizza wasn’t nearly as sumptuous looking as we were led to believe by Domino’s marketing material. The grated parmesan is barely visible, the pepperoni has been laid with less care (there’s also less of it) and the mozzarella is far less generous.

KFC’s Grilled Salsa Twister:

The first wrap looks like it was painstakingly prepared by the head chef at a Michelin rated restaurant. The second one looks like it was knocked together by a hammer-stunned rooster.

McDonald’s New Chicken Burger Range

There’s no hiding the fact that these burgers fail to measure up to the advertised image — the chicken patties look thinner, the buns aren’t as plump and the salads are a bit measly across the board. Collectively, the McDonald’s Chicken range is pretty fowl.

Nando’s ‘Little Hotties’ Snack Range

When there’s no hot woman to distract you, it becomes blatantly obvious how misleading the Nando images are. The Pequeno Mini Chicken Pita is especially deceptive: the reality is a limp, soggy pocket of sadness with none of the vibrant fillings depicted in the advertisement. This is especially galling when you consider Nando’s positions itself as an ‘upmarket’ fast food restaurant, with exorbitant prices to match.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


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