Sunday, November 30, 2008

If It LOOKS Better, It Must TASTE Better

So say children everywhere. Were you embarrassed to eat the generic, store brand cereal? The stuff that came in the sacks instead of the boxes? With the almost-but-not-quite-the-same cartoon mascots? I know it made me feel weird.

It's part of a deliberate marketing strategy (of course). And it's working. The American Public Health Association has found that children who are offered cereal with well-recognized cartoon mascots on the box (Tony the Tiger, Snap, Crackle & Pop, Sugar Bear, etc.) found that it tasted better than the exact same cereal from a box without the character.

There's another piece of the research that's a little more heartening. Children thought that a cereal with a healthy-sounding name tasted better than the same cereal with a less-healthy name. So, all we have to do is trust that marketers will be truthful in choosing cereal names that reflect the nutritional value of their product. What could go wrong with that?

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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