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How McDonald’s Gets A Quarter Pounder Ready For Its Closeup

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A side-by-side comparison of a Quarter-Pounder bought a store, compared with one cooked up in a photo studio. (Credit: McDonalds/YouTube)

A side-by-side comparison of a Quarter-Pounder bought a store, compared with one cooked up in a photo studio. (Credit: McDonalds/YouTube)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Why does McDonald’s food look different in commercials compared with what you get in a restaurant?

A fair question, and McDonald’s is happy to show you.

It’s no secret that photo stylists are used to make food appear more appetizing.

A burger bought in a store take just a few minutes to prepare–it is fast-food, after all. A sandwich can take hours to prepare in a studio.

Hope Bagozzi, director of marketing for McDonald’s in Canada, this week released a You Tube video showing how it’s done and why.

In response to a customer question, Bagozzi took a Quarter Pounder she bought in a restaurant to Watt International Photo Studios, the agency that McDonald’s Canada has used for about seven years for their the merchandise creative.

At the studio, Bagozzi had Neil, a Watt photographer, take a picture of the store-bought burger. The plan: Using the same lighting and angle, compare it with the same sandwich created by Watt food stylists.

The Quarter Pounder created in the studio takes hours to prepare. However, they use the exact same ingredients used in burgers you buy in the restaurant.

“We want to be able to show the pickles and the condiments as we build,” said Neil.

In the store, those ingredients are tucked underneath the bun. However, for the creative, McDonald’s wants customers to know that the burger comes with pickles, onions and ketchup and mustard.

So, Noah takes great care to place pickles and onions along the side of the sandwich. Using syringes filled with ketchup and mustard, he carefully adds dollops of condiments, making them appear to delicately ooze off the side of the patty.

“Because we are in a one-dimensional world with the camera, everything is in the back in a picture. I don’t know what’s actually in it,” said Noah. “At least this way we can tell people, you have ketchup, you have mustard, you have two pieces of cheese.”

Noah even uses a palette knife and small flame to gently melt and fold the cheese down the side of the burger.

“It’s like you are a surgeon in there,” Bagozzo said.

After the shoot, the picture does go through a touch up process. Small imperfections in the bun are removed and colors are adjusted.

Bagozzo added that the bun also appears smaller in the store-bought sandwich because steam from the burger causes the bun to contract in the box.

Here is the side-by-side:

quarter pounder  How McDonalds Gets A Quarter Pounder Ready For Its Closeup

A side-by-side comparison of a Quarter-Pounder bought in a store, compared with one cooked up in a photo studio. (Credit: McDonalds/YouTube)

Watch the full video:

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