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Nov 11, 2008 05:29 AM

Commercials with prop food

Progresso is promoting its chicken broth, and on a recent commercial they show a woman's hand stirring what is supposed to be mashed potatoes Yet, the potatoes look more like a pot full of soap suds. I honestly get a bad taste in my mouth just watching this, and it leaves a bad impression with me about the product. I can't look at the box without thinking about a mouth full of soap suds...yuck.

Anyone else have food commercials affect them this way?

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  1. Guess it's just me. :-)

    1. An acquaintance of mine makes commercials and does photo shoots where the focus is food. I haven't seen this particular Progresso commercial but if they're using soapsuds in the pot, it runs contrary to what is typical in the this specialized production work. From what I've been told, the amount of high grade food and ingredients that the go through in a shooting a commercial or even a photo shoot would make the average Chowhound cry. Dozens of fresh lobsters sprayed with colored nonfood oils to make them look more moist and buttery, bottles of champagne being poured into glasses that are held over sink drains, gallons of ice cream melting away under those hot lights shot after shot, only to be replenished countless times until the perfect image is had, etc. You get the picture.

      You gotta wonder about Progresso's products if they're willing to let someone use soap suds in place of mashed potatoes in their commercials...

      6 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        That was what I had heard in speaking to someone who works for a magazine. It was mostly real food, but with strange things done to it to make it have better colour, shine, etc.

        One substution I have heard of was for doesn't translate onto the screen and they use paint. And ice cream. For obvious reasons, it doesn't hold, so they make a strange paste of fat and colouring.

        1. re: Sooeygun

          My boyfriend used to work in the same building as a place that took photos of food/dishes. He said that those "perfect" scoops of ice cream are actually scoops of mashed potatoes. Come to think of it, the haagen daaz ads do look like piles of perfect mashed potatoes.

          1. re: bitsubeats

            In restaurants that present a dessert tray for diners to choose from, the "ice cream" on pie a la mode and other desserts is often vegetable shortening. It looks right but doesn't melt at room temperature. Should someone say, "I want THAT one," the wait staff is trained to respond, "Let me get you a fresher one."

            1. re: bitsubeats

              Actually, the Haagen Daz photos, by law, have to be of the product- at least if they are for advertising or promotion. For editorial photos, such as magazine covers or in which something like ice cream is not the item sold but a side item, then often mashed potatoes or more frequently a mix of something like powdered sugar and canned frosting (which looks more realistic).

              A useful trick, however, is to set lighting for a photo with the fake stuff, then switch out right before the shot, waiting for juuuuust the right amount of frost to glaze over the ice cream surface!

              1. re: Scortch

                There was a famouse case back in the 70's or 80's where Campbell Soup was fined for putting marbles in the bottom of a soup bowl to make the soup look like it had more vegetables than it really did.

                1. re: Scortch

                  My son is a photographer and when he shot food items for a restaurant website menu, the food was all real food that the chef cooked specifically for the shoot. It was hard work! He took a spray bottle of glycerin, just in case, but didn't use it.

          2. This reminds me of a time when I worked at Taco Bell - insert laugh here - anyway, this guy asked us why his food didn't look like the picture on the menu. I remember the entire staff looking at him as if her were crazy. We all knew way back then, that they did something to the food to make it look good.

            3 Replies
            1. re: kprange

              I remember when I was about 13, my mother and I saw an add for a Long John Silvers seafood salad. The add had shrimp, and krab on lettuce with veggies and boiled egg looked like a bit of heaven in a bowl.

              So, on a Saturday afternoon my mom took me there because we both really wanted to try this salad, and all I can say is that it was vile as it looked nothing like the advertisement or the picture in the restaurant. It came in a paper bowl with plastic wrap encasing the whole bowl. The shrimp was tiny, tiny salad shrimp, not the big juicy shrimp shown in the add. The lettuce was not fresh - but the best part, the absolute best part was the slices of boiled egg ...they were fake. It was some sort of dyed gelatin thing. I threw it against the wall and it stuck. I got in trouble, but it made my point. The outing was a very early and important lesson in food quality.

              1. re: FoodChic

                Fake boiled egg? This is surely a new low.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  And sadly this was in the early 80's. So, I can only imagine the atrocities passed off as "food" these days.