In the following video, McDonald’s Marketing Director Hope Bagozzi answers a question asked (I think) via Facebook: “Why does your food look different in the advertising than what is in the store?” To answer the question (and this is the brilliant part) she goes on to reveal over the next three minutes all of the painstaking details that go into a “food photo shoot” for McDonalds. In other words she destroys the illusion of advertising.
The brilliance of it all is that by the end of the video we (the viewer) are no longer appalled! There is no story here; we are not disgusted. The sheer banality and ordinariness of it defuses any and all outrage and criticism. There can be no accusations of sinister plots to dupe an unsuspecting public because – surpise! – we are now in on the magic trick. “See! Now you are complicit in our deception, and you are going to like it.”
By destroying the very integrity of the illusion, our genuinely likeable and attractive Marketing Director camouflages the real quarter pounder all the more effectively. The tragedy here is that it’s all so reasonable: there is no nefarious plan here, just plain old regular business “best practices” and “market forces” and “expectations” and maybe a little bit of “food culture” – all these impersonal aggregates and structures bearing down impossibly upon the viewer, forcing us to acquiesce, disarming our (impotent) consumer rage at being fed unreasonable expectations about the foods we eat.
This is the present from now on. Faultless, blameless systems of complete complicity.