Pulling the Cheese : Domino’s Food Styling and Pizza Porn

You’re sitting at home watching TV when a pizza advertisement comes on. By the end of the commercial, you’re salivating in your mouth at the images you just saw on the screen. You pick up the phone, call Domino‘s and order a pie for delivery. You’re impatient, eagerly awaiting to take a bite of the slice you just saw on TV. 20 minutes later you pay the delivery driver and open the box, expecting to see this:

Pizza Porn

Pizza Porn

But what you really see is this:

“Food photography (or food porn as it’s deemed in this age of Food Network plate-ogling) can make you hungry with a mere glance.  But it’s not easy to get things looking so appetizing and alluring. It takes a ton of skill, timing, artistry, and even some house hold items you should never put in your mouth.” – Fox News

Ever wonder what the process of making a Domino’s commercial looks like? Take a look:

“Food stylists are amazing. They have to do many things to the food to make it look beautiful…They use many tools to make that pizza look the best.” – Hand Model, Domino’s Pizza

It takes “150 people to get down 30 seconds of camera time…if we’re lucky, we get one shot an hour.” – Sam Fauser, Domino’s Pizza Chef

I never thought that they would cut the pizza using a sawzall, or screw down the crust so the cheese will pull just right. It makes sense, I mean how many times have you pulled a slice out of the box and took the cheese off the whole pie?

Although Domino’s released this video to be more transparent, as part of their famous “Oh Yes We Did” campaign, they certainly are not the only company utilizing food styling. Almost every food commercial, photograph, and television show employ at least a little bit food styling to make the food look beautiful.

I haven’t decided yet where I stand about the ethics of “Food Porn”. It’s not unlike other commercials which use different means of persuasion (i.e. beautiful people, humor, values, flattery, straw man). To me, it’s just another important aspect of being media literate. Questioning food media production should be considered thoughtfully like any other kind of media. Some people argue that Food Porn does not practice good ethics, and can be misleading to consumers. What do you guys think? Should you be able to photograph your cake and eat it, too?

WP 3/22


Filed under Ethics, Media Literacy, WP

5 responses to “Pulling the Cheese : Domino’s Food Styling and Pizza Porn

  1. katie

    It is so scary to think how much manipulation goes into showing food.

  2. Hailey Ronconi

    I often think, when I order food, that it actually does look perfect like good porn. those places should really get more credit than the others. their food doesn’t need manipulation, yet it looks amazing like the commercials that put in so much hard work

  3. Sarah

    I do feel mislead when I pay good money for a food depicted in an advertisement, and I receive something less than impressive.

    I am paying for sensory experience of the food just as much as the functional aspect of the food (ie. calories).

    I agree with Hailey. Restaurants that do a good job cooking and presenting food to the quality of the images they use to sell the food should be recognized.

  4. Katie, Hailey and Sarah, thanks for your comments!
    Sarah, I agree that presentation can be just as important as taste when I’m paying for a meal. And Hailey, it is amazing that some companies spend much time and effort to manipulate food for the camera, meanwhile there ARE restaurants out there that pay attention to how the food looks on every single plate, regardless of mass attention.

  5. Quinn

    Hahahaah I literally had no idea how they did it. I’ve always been interested in this process. The next step is to go home and try it myself! Thanks Domenica!!

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