Here's Why Ice Cream Always Looks Perfect In Ads

A scoop of ice cream is sometimes exactly what we need to make our days brighter. The frozen sweet treat has become synonymous with sunny summer afternoons that remind us of the innocence and playfulness of childhood. Impressively, it has been estimated that the ice cream market will reach nearly $92 billion by 2027, according to Fortune Business Insights (via International Dairy Foods Association).

The ice cream doors in the frozen aisle at the grocery store are filled to the brim with brightly colored cartons of various flavors made by brands from all around the world. So, what exactly draws us to this section? Maybe it's out of pure ritual if ice cream just so happens to be a consistent item on your shopping list. Perhaps you're throwing a party and are looking for a celebratory indulgence every guest will enjoy. Or maybe you were swayed into buying a product through a compelling recommendation by a trusted friend.

Whatever your reason for stocking up on the sweet stuff, your purchase is valid. However, if you made your way to the ice cream freezer because you saw an ad (or several) that sparked a serious craving for a frozen treat, there's something you should probably know.

The ice cream shown in advertisements isn't always the real thing

Professional food stylists admit to applying clever tricks of the trade to help make ice cream look impeccably delicious on our TV screens and on glossy magazine pages. A lot of these setups, perhaps to many consumers' surprise, don't even involve real ice cream! How disappointing is that? 

For example, instead of spooning actual dairy-based ice cream onto cones or into bowls, various colors of modeling clay, lard, or dyed mashed potatoes are common substitutes. This crafty technique is used to prevent the "ice cream" from melting under the ultra-bright photo studio lights, per the advertising design experts at Digital Synopsis.

But what about the toppings that can get a bit messy? According to Mental Floss, some photographers place small pieces of paper towel on top of the material before dousing it in chocolate syrup or hot fudge. So, next time you see an absolutely perfect scoop of ice cream in an ad — even if it triggers your sweet tooth — keep in mind that it might not be genuine. Other sneaky ways to make food look flawless in ads include using shaving cream in lieu of whipped cream, swapping milk for glue, and plopping soap on top of beer to give it a foamy head, per Marketing Mind.

If this put you in the mood for a frozen concoction, here's the surprising topping you can try adding to your ice cream for a uniquely flavored treat.