McDonald’s and Wendy’s have defeated a lawsuit that accused the fast food chains of making its burgers look bigger in ad photos than they actually are.
Justin Chimienti filed a class account lawsuit against McDonald’s and Wendy’s — in which he claimed that the marketing photos make the burgers look at least 15% larger than when they are bought from the restaurants.
Chimienti was disappointed after buying a Big Mac from McDonald’s and the Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger he bought from Wendy’s. He alleged the burgers were not as big and juicy as advertised.
However on Saturday, a federal judge in New York dismissed Chimienti’s lawsuit against McDonald’s and Wendy’s.
U.S. District Court Judge Hector Gonzalez said he found no proof that the fast-food chains delivered smaller burgers than advertised, or that the plaintiff had even seen ads for the McDonald’s Big Mac and Wendy’s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger he bought.
According to Restaurant Business, Judge Gonzalez said that Chimienti did not offer enough proof he was injured by the burger chains’ ads. He also said that the advertisements themselves “did not constitute offers to enter into a contract.”
“Defendants’ effort to present appetizing images of their products are no different than other companies’ use of visually appealing images to foster positive associations with their products,” Judge Gonzalez writes in a 19-page decision.
Judge Gonzalez reportedly commented that such associations are “immaterial puffery” so long as they do not make any representations of actual size.
Lawsuits Against Fast Food Chains Over Ad Photos
This dismissal comes a little over a month after a judge told Burger King that it must face a class action lawsuit over claims that the company’s ad photos make the Whopper look bigger than what they were served up in reality.
Customers have accused Burger King of making the Whoppers appear “approximately 35% larger in size” and containing “more than double the meat than the actual burger” in photos on its in-store menu boards.
U.S. District Judge Roy Altman rejected Burger King’s efforts to throw out the lawsuit and said it was up to jurors to “tell us what reasonable people think” about the images.
Restaurant Business reports that Chimienti had filed a letter with the court referencing the Burger King lawsuit, arguing that the decision set a precedent. Judge Gonzalez apparently was not swayed.
In the last year, there has been a growing number of legal challenges against fast food restaurants as customers claim that there is a huge disparity between they serve in restaurants and the products that they advertise in photographs.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.