Geek Trivia

What Distinctly Non-Food Item Do Photographers Use In Cereal Ads?

Elmer's Glue
Polyurethane Spray
White Paint
Glass Dust
In Sociology, Extremely Late Adopters Of Technology Are Referred To As?

Answer: Elmer’s Glue

There’s something just a slight bit uncanny about the milk in cereal advertisements. It’s so brilliantly white, opaque, and the cereals sit so precisely in it. You might be tempted to think that it’s a bit of Photoshop wizardry, when it fact it’s a trick far older than Photoshop.

It’s glue. For years food stylists have used Elmer’s glue, the same milky white stuff school kids like to make a mess with, in place of milk. It’s richer looking, it’s thicker and stays put better, and best of all its thickness allows you to position elements (like individual pieces of cereal and fruit toppings) with the kind of precision a successful photo shoot requires.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.