We’ve all seen the commercials: perfectly rounded tortellini garnished with just the right amount of olive oil and pesto, a simmering chicken marinating over a lemon and rosemary stock, a cheesecake so fluffy it looks like it’s made of clouds.

It’s not real, the sauce is paint, the tortellini carved from wax and lard (yes, lard). NYT breaks down the science behind the world of “food porn” in this intriguing op-ed.

It’s interesting how restaurants see a 5-10% jump in revenues the weekend after airing these ad-campaigns; a true testament to the brilliant but cunning ways of advertising.  Not every restaurant can advertise on TV but it’s a powerful reminder that investing in quality marketing that evokes an emotion or experience is usually the way to go.