Burger King Whopper: We Compared The Real Thing To The Ads To See How It Stacks Up

It's not unusual to see an ad for fast food and immediately feel your mouth start to water because the images in the ad make the food look so delicious. But it's probably not as common to actually buy the food from that fast food chain and get a product that looks just like the ad. It may taste delicious, just like you'd hoped, but getting a smaller or less appealing item than you expected can be disappointing.

At Mashed, we're all about trying and reviewing food to give you the low-down on what you can expect before you buy it yourself. For this article, we wanted to have some fun by comparing a Burger King Whopper — perhaps the most iconic fast food burger of all — to its ads, which typically feature a burger that can't fit in one hand, topped with super-fresh ingredients on a flame-grilled patty. How did our real-world Burger King Whopper compare to the ads? Keep reading to find out.

The bun somewhat resembled the ad

The bun of a Burger King Whopper always stands out in ads, proudly topping the burger and its fresh ingredients with its shiny, sesame-seed-laden silhouette. According to the ads, a Whopper bun is also slightly smaller than its ingredients, allowing the lettuce and patty to stick out a bit over its sides. And, don't forget that bottom bun, which looks to be about the same size or even a little thicker than the patty.

The Whopper we bought didn't look exactly like the images of Whoppers we see plastered all over Burger King's windows and menu. However, it wasn't totally misleading. The top and bottom buns were about the thickness we'd expect, and the top bun had a nice, rounded shape, albeit not as perfectly rounded as Burger King's official photos. However, our bun definitely lacked the shine of an advertised Whopper, offering a duller appearance. Fortunately, that doesn't affect the taste at all, so this is absolutely something we can look past.

The patty wasn't too far off from its marketing

The first thing we noticed when we unwrapped our Whopper was ... the bun. Just a whole lot of bun. Unlike Whopper advertisements, our patty didn't prominently hang over the bun. Instead, it was hidden inside, with about a centimeter of bun overhanging the patty. It kind of left us feeling like the ladies in the "Where's the beef?" Wendy's commercial. We concluded that there was no way the patty would look anything like the photos once we held it up and examined it further.

However, we were pleasantly surprised that the patty closely resembled Whopper ads when we picked it up and looked at the burger from the side. Although the patty wasn't as colorful as pictured and didn't have that fresh-off-the-grill look, it looked relatively appetizing. It was also just about as thick as marketing images make it appear, which was a welcome change from the thinned-out patties that are common in fast food burgers. Honestly, from some angles, this burger patty actually looked a bit thicker than advertised Whoppers, which was impressive.

The Whopper doesn't look as massive in person

When you see Whopper ads, you probably see a gigantic burger that looks like it would be difficult to squeeze into your mouth for a bite. At least, that's what we immediately think of when we see marketing images for Whoppers. After all, the Whopper is designed to be the king of the Burger King menu, if not fast food burgers in general.

So, we thought it was only fair to compare what we see in Burger King's advertisements to the real Whopper we tested. Ultimately, we were left a little underwhelmed with its size, especially in the height department. While Whopper ads leave you thinking that all ingredients are stacked so high on one another that it would be tough to get a full bit of everything in one shot, our Whopper was much more modest in stature. In fact, it appeared like a regular burger we might have at a cookout rather than Burger King's star of the show.

As for the overall burger, its size was maybe slightly smaller than we'd expect based on ads alone, but it certainly wasn't a small burger. To illustrate its size, we placed it next to a medium-sized fry and held it in our hand. It may not be the oversized burger that ads hint at it to be, but then again, the Whopper usually stands on its own in ads, leaving its size to the imagination.

The toppings weren't nearly as tidy as the ads

We'll preface this by saying that when we visit a fast food restaurant like Burger King, we don't expect to be given the fanciest, most photogenic food on the planet. Still, it would be nice to have a burger like the ones typically highlighted in fast food ads, where the toppings sit neatly on top of one another, and there are enough of them to get some in each bite.

Our Whopper, unfortunately, didn't hit the mark in this area. According to Burger King, the Whopper is "topped with tangy pickles, ketchup, fresh tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and fresh onions, finished with creamy mayo, and "served on a toasted 5' sesame seed bun." That's true, as we got all of the above on our Whopper. But our toppings look nothing like the ads in terms of neatness. The lettuce was scattered haphazardly across the burger and was chopped into small pieces rather than the large leaves depicted in Whopper ads. Plus, we couldn't find a pickle anywhere without having to dig for it, and, ultimately, we only found one.

There was enough sauce, and it didn't drip everywhere

The Whopper gets a mixture of mayo and ketchup for its sauces, and ads for the burger often show each just slightly peeking out from the toppings, patty, and bun. In closeup photos of the Whopper, you might see a slight drip of mayo from the top bun. When we first unwrapped our Whopper, we saw absolutely no ketchup or mayo, so we had to open it up to see what was hiding underneath.

Fortunately, both sauces were there, with the mayo on the top and ketchup on the bottom, just like the ads. Although quite a bit sloppier than marketing images for the Whopper would have you believe, the sauces were just the amount we'd expect to have on our burger. We could pick up the Whopper and take a bite without ketchup and mayo dripping from the bun, and we tasted some of each sauce in every mouthful.

The Whopper wasn't as sturdy as the ads make it look

Surely you've seen Whopper marketing images of one or two hands holding onto the burger, poised to bring to someone's mouth for a bite. We've seen a few images like this and were curious if our Whopper could stand up to the job. After all, fast food is all about convenience, and it's not convenient to have your delicious burger's ingredients flopping everywhere as you try to eat it.

That's sort of what happened with our Whopper, though. When we picked it up with one hand, the other side of the burger we weren't holding spilled over. Perhaps this could have been remedied with a stiffer, less soggy bottom bun. When we used both hands to hold it, it helped, but the bottom bun still wanted to let some toppings escape. Also, when eating the Whopper, the ingredients shifted around a lot, possibly because of the slippery sauce. This caused some bites to just be bun with veggies and no patty, as it occasionally fell out the back of the burger.

The verdict: Did the Whopper live up to its ads?

Fast food can vary significantly between local restaurants. You could go to one Burger King and get a Whopper with barely any burger toppings and a mushed bun. Then, the next week, you might visit a different Burger King and get the tidy, fresh, tasty Whopper of your dreams. The Whopper from our local Burger King was close enough to the ads that we weren't disappointed in its purchase.

For starters, the Whopper was on point with sauces, offering just enough mayo and ketchup, even if they were slightly messy. Also, the bun looked close to the photos, just with a bit less shine on top and a little extra sogginess on the bottom. We were also quite impressed with the patty itself. While it didn't overhang the buns like Whopper ads show, it was still about as thick as the ads and tasted delicious.

Where could our Whopper have been better? We would have preferred more than one pickle and tidier toppings, and it would have been great if the burger had stayed together better when eating it. The burger also doesn't appear as tall and mighty as the stacked burger in the ads. Were we a little catfished by Whopper marketing? Maybe, if you consider what our Whopper looked like as a whole. However, the individual components are there, just maybe not as neatly as we would have preferred.