How Closely Does Fast Food Need To Resemble The Ad Photo?

I think it’s safe to say that most people have a decent grasp on the distinction between advertising and reality. Most of us know that the cheese on our Whopper isn’t going to perfectly placed like the cheese on TV or that the bacon on our Baconator probably won’t be identical to the crispy, glistening bacon we see on the poster. But at what point does fast food cross the line between “acceptably different” from the picture and “completely unrecognizable”?

For example, a reader recently wrote in with their disappointment at Taco Bell’s new Cantina Tacos. Above is a side-by-side comparison of the Bell’s marketing shot and the reader’s camera phone pic of the same item.

Wrote the reader: “The disgusting goo that put in a tortilla and wrapped in foil was quite the disappointment. What they served and what they advertise is COMPLETELY different. I want my $4 AND my ten minutes back!”

Meanwhile, Domino’s Pizza, fresh off its self-flagellating “we know our old recipe sucked” reinvention, recently launched a campaign saying it will only use photos of actual Domino’s pies; no plastic fakes or spray-on glisten for the cameras. The campaign is still in its early stages so it’s too soon to say if it’s having a positive effect or if others will follow suit.

What do you think?