Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ads Can Make Blah Fast Food Look Spectacular

Commercial: [kuh-mur-shuh l]
Radio and Television. a paid advertisement or promotional announcement designed to entice the buying public. (sic)

It's an advertiser's job to make goods and services appear irresistibly purchase-worthy, to tempt buyers to spend money on whatever it is they're trying to hock.  Taking advantage of food makeup and descriptive phrases, the fast food industry has mastered the art of making the mundane seem seductive.  The sad part is that I keep falling for it.

Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack
Subject: Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack |
Source: Jack In The Box's Press Image Library |
I love bacon, Swiss Cheese, and garlic butter, so I was excited about the Jack In The Box's Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack, with its 1/4 lb beef patty topped with melted garlic herb butter,  hickory smoked bacon, Swiss Cheese, and bacon mayo.  I expected a succulent burger delivering the flavors of smoky bacon, garlic, and Swiss. What I got was just kinda dry & blah, featuring no big flavors, other than the sweetness of their "new gourmet bun."  This mediocre offering gets 5 out of 10 stars from me.

Likewise, last year when I heard about Taco Bell's Waffle Taco I was excited.  I ordered the sausage version.  Being from Taco Bell, my expectation was that the dish would be slightly spicy and full of flavor. I got bland eggs and bland sausage on a bland waffle.  When drizzled on, the syrup does add a pleasant sweetness, but it makes the taco sticky and hard to pick up. I gave Taco Bell's Waffle Taco 4 out of 10 stars.  Sweetness on top of blandness just isn't the recipe for a tasty breakfast 

Little Caesars Pretzel Crust Pizza
Subject: Little Caesars' Pretzel Crust Pizza |
Source: Little Caesars' Press Release |
Then there was Little Caesars' $6.00 Pretzel Crust Pizza. Topped with a Cheddar cheese sauce, cheese, and pepperoni, all sprinkled with an additional blend of; Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan, and White Cheddar cheeses; the salty Cheddar cheese sauce, salty/spicy pepperoni, salty four cheese blend, and soft salted pretzel crust pummeled me with saltiness on top of saltiness on top of saltiness on top of saltiness.  The addition of mushrooms, bell peppers, and/or sun dried tomatoes would have added some badly needed balance to this one note pie. I gave Little Caesars' Pretzel Crust Pizza 5 out of 10 stars.

Being a cheese lover, I couldn't wait for my first bite of Burger King's Four Cheese Whopper, consisting of flame-grilled beef, melted American cheese, a creamy three cheese blend, cheddar sauce, freshly cut lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and onions.  Wait, a slice of American cheese (check), a creamy three cheese blend (check), cheddar sauce (check).  What's the fourth cheese component?  Perhaps Burger King counts the three cheeses within the creamy blend, but three plus two equals five, not four.  Weird math aside though, the cheeses were so mushed together that their flavors canceled each other out.  The dripping mess deserves no more than 6 out of 10 stars.

Don't even get me started on Popeyes' Shrimp Po'Boy, which they describe as deep fried shrimp on a French baguette, with lettuce, pickles, and tartar sauce.  While I like their spicy fried chicken, this sandwich marked the first, and hopefully LAST, time I've been served rock hard shrimp.  Being exceptionally hungry, I choked down a forth of it before I surrendered to the fact that I was burning more calories, by trying to chew the thing, than I was taking in. Popeyes' Shrimp Po'Boy gets 3 out of 10 stars from me.

Two of the products above are items I'd previously reviewed.  Regular readers will remember my reviews of Little Caesars' Pretzel Crust Pizza and Taco Bell's Waffle Taco.  Still, the list above makes my point.  Commercials will psych me up for a new dish, which will turn out to be mediocre, at best.

I could ignore such messages completely.  The problem is, I really like; McDonalds' JalapeƱo Double Cheeseburger, Taco Bell's Double Decker Taco, and Pizza Hut's Triple Cheese Covered Stuffed Crust Pizza; none of which I would've known about if not for the commercials.

Like it or not, as consumers we're dependent on advertising to keep us cognizant of out buying choices.  However, I'm going to try to watch such ads with a proverbial grain salt.  After all,  it's the advertiser's job to sway us with subjective opinions, rather than inform us with objective facts.

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