Thursday, 8 November 2012

Hyperreality

Hyperreality is a term I heard earlier this year. It's a postmodern philosophy about how we perceive the world around us. And in the last few decades; it has significantly affected a lot of people's lives, specifically the way in which we look at ourselves and compare ourselves to people on TV and in magazines.

The way hyperreality is used to advertisement is what really strikes me as disturbing. We see things in magazines and on TV and wonder why the actual product doesn't reflect the image we saw.

Take for example a few common phrases:


"This doesn't look like the picture on the box." That's because the picture on the box is a picture of hand-painted polystyrene, not potato chips.

"This isn't what I expected when I paid for this trip." That's because it rains on this island 364 days, and the footage from the ad was taken on the one sunny day.

"Why can't I look like that?" Because to look like that, I'd have to photoshop you in real life.

Now, I'm not suggesting that advertisements become 100% accurate to real life. I would like that, but no one in the advertisement business would appreciate that idea.

I am suggesting that people watch advertisements with a grain of salt, and think critically of what they see.

Hyperreality is when we see something that appears to be better than real life, because it's actually unobtainable in real life.

Let me give you a few examples:

  • I already mentioned that a lot of potato chips in commercials are hand-painted polystyrene.
  • In cereal commercials, PVA glue is used instead of milk, because milk makes the cereal go soggy.
  • Coca-cola looks "better" when 40% diluted with water.
  • Cooked meat looks more appetising when painted with soy sauce or shoe polish.
  • To make food look like it's just been cooked, soak a tampon in water and microwave it, then place behind the food and you have artificial steam.
  • Spraying fruit and vegetables with glycerine makes them look fresher.
  • Mashed potato is used instead of vanilla ice cream because it doesn't melt.
  • Rubber bands are cut up to look like bacon.
  • Putting marbles in soup will force the vegetables to float to the top.
  • Yellow silicone is used on pizzas to make the stretchy cheese.
  • Fill a pie slice with mashed potato to make it stay in place, then paint it whatever colour.
  • Spraying cake with hairspray makes it look moist.
  • Steak looks plump and juicy when cooked on only one side.
  • Shaving cream can be put on the top of a glass of beer if it's not frothy enough.
  • Ice cubes are often acrylic.
  • Putting sandbags in a car will make it sit lower to the ground.
  • Applying drops of nail varnish to glasses will make the drink look ice cold.

So trust me when I say it's not meant to look like the ad. If it looked like the ad; you probably shouldn't eat it.

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