Most people have fond memories of favorite cartoon characters, but a new study shows that such fondness may actually influence a child’s eating habits.
In a study published this week in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, it was shown that use of cartoon characters in food advertising can have profound impact on a child’s reaction to the product. The study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania included 80 children between ages 4 and 6.
In the experiment children were presented with a box of cereal containing the same cereal contained in various packaging. Children who received a cereal that used a cartoon character on the package responded in a generally more positive way than those presented with packages that did not include a cartoon character.
It was also noted that the name of the cereal had an impact on their responses. The children who received a cereal called “Healthy Bits” were more receptive to the product than children receiving “Sugar Bits”, who were noted to be influenced by the cartoon figure as well.
Researchers conducting the study theorized that the use of cartoon characters had this impact because children are more likely to remember the various non-verbal cues.