London ad agency Grey has learned an important lesson from watching Pizza Hut, Subway, and other fast food commercials: cheap food looks better in motion. In their beautiful “Sound of Taste” ad campaign for UK bargain seasoning company Schwartz, Grey launches burlap bagfuls of vibrantly-colored herbs and spices into the air, set to a score composed by musician M.J. Cole. But unlike other TV spots you’ve seen for burger chains and fried chicken joints, sending spices sky high isn’t just an arbitrary attempt by Grey to make everyday food products seem more exciting–it sells the idea behind Schwartz’s “Flavour Shot’ packs. We say bravo to Grey for taking an overdone concept and making it work in a fresh way for their client.
That got us thinking about how the whole flying-food phenomenon got started. According to Ed Fountain, the man who makes perfectly char-grilled chicken cutlets rise through flames and freshly diced vegetables soar through the air in hundreds of familiar TV spots, food in motion can be used for a couple of different effects. There’s what he calls “happy action”–think chicken nuggets bouncing across the screen. That makes “food seem fun and appealing.” Then there are the water-dappled fresh fruit and veggie sequences that make an ordinary tomato look downright luscious. Splashing food with water and sending it through “slow-motion playback,” he says, “makes everything look luxurious.” (Quotes and image from Fast Company, where you can see more of the clever devices Fountain has rigged for his stunts.)
Luxurious is the key word. How to make fast food desirable? Slow it down.
Of course, one Google search for flying food led to another, and before we knew the better part of our evening got sucked into a YouTube-fueled rabbit hole. It was totally worth it. We watched more food lurching upwards from plates and glasses (see below), as well as the harder-to-find reverse slow-motion shot. Next time you want to procrastinate, simply search for “food photography reel.”