Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eyes in the cereal aisle: How Cap'n Crunch's gaze is influencing your purchasing

Date:
April 2, 2014
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Consumers are 16 percent more likely to trust a brand of cereal when the characters on the boxes on the supermarket shelves look them straight in the eye. Not surprisingly, the study also found that the gaze of characters on children’s cereal boxes is at a downward, 9.6-degree angle, while characters on adult cereal boxes look almost straight ahead.

Brand trust was 16% higher and the feeling of connection to the brand was 28% higher when the character on the cereal box appeared to make eye contact.
Credit: Image courtesy of Cornell University

In a study of 65 cereals in 10 different grocery stores, Cornell researchers found that cereals marketed to kids are placed half as high on supermarket shelves as adult cereals -- the average height for children's cereal boxes is 23 inches verses 48 inches for adult cereal. A second key finding from the same study is that the average angle of the gaze of cereal spokes-characters on cereal boxes marketed to kids is downward at a 9.6 degree angle whereas spokes-characters on adult cereal look almost straight ahead.

Related Articles


To examine the influence of cereal box spokes-characters Cornell Food and Brand Lab Researchers Aner Tal and Brian Wansink, in collaboration with Aviva Musicus, Yale University, asked two questions:

1. Do cereal characters make eye contact?

2. Does eye contact with cereal spokes-characters influence choice?

First, the researchers conducted a study to determine whether the angle of the gaze of spokes-characters on children cereal boxes was such that it would create eye contact with children. To test this, they evaluated 65 types of cereal and 86 different spokes-characters in 10 different grocery stores in New York and Connecticut. For each character the angle of the gaze was calculated four feet from the shelf -- the standard distance from which shoppers view the boxes. Results show that characters on cereals marketed to children make incidental eye contact with children and cereals marketed to adults make incidental eye contact with adult shoppers. Of the 86 different spokes-characters evaluated, 57 were marketed to children with a downward gaze at an angle of 9.67 degrees. In contrast, the gazes of characters on adult marketed cereals were nearly straight ahead, at a .43 degree upward angle. In agreement with previous studies, the children's cereals were placed on the bottom 2 shelves while the adult cereals were placed on the top 2 selves. Thus the average height of the spokes-characters gaze was 53.99 inches for adult cereals and 20.21 inches for children cereals.

In a second study researchers examined the extent to which eye contact with cereal box spokes-characters influences feelings of trust and connection with a brand. 63 individuals from a private northeastern university participated. They were asked to view a Trix box and rate their feelings of trust and connection to the brand. Participants were randomly shown one of two versions of the box, in one version the rabbit was looking straight at the viewer and in the other the rabbit looked down.

Findings show that brand trust was 16% higher and the feeling of connection to the brand was 28% higher when the rabbit made eye contact. Furthermore, participants indicated liking Trix better, compared to another cereal, when the rabbit made eye contact. This finding shows that cereal box spokes-characters that make eye contact may increase positive feelings towards the product and encourage consumers to buy it.

Creating spokes-characters who make eye contact with a product's target audience (child or adult) is a package design that can be used as an advertising tool that influences people to buy and develop brand loyalty. Two key take-aways from this study are:

  • If you are a parent who does not want your kids to go "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" avoid taking them down the cereal aisle.
  • If you are a cereal company looking to market healthy cereals to kids, use spokes-characters that make eye contact with children to create brand loyalty!

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. The original article was written by Katherine Baildon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aviva Musicus, Aner Tal, and Brian Wansink. Eyes in the Aisles: Why is Cap’n Crunch Looking Down at My Child? Environment & Behavior, 2014 (Forthcoming)

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Eyes in the cereal aisle: How Cap'n Crunch's gaze is influencing your purchasing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402095101.htm>.
Cornell University. (2014, April 2). Eyes in the cereal aisle: How Cap'n Crunch's gaze is influencing your purchasing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402095101.htm
Cornell University. "Eyes in the cereal aisle: How Cap'n Crunch's gaze is influencing your purchasing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402095101.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins