Most pointless experiment....ever!

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Most pointless experiment....ever!

Unread postby UnwantedSunbeam » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:24 pm

Even as I read the article, I was amazed that it was even allowed to be commisioned. The headline reads :

"Stickers of cartoon characters, such as Shrek and Scooby-Doo, can influence children to eat sugary snacks, but not healthier foods, a Yale study finds."

The full story is here on the LA Times.

Kids like sweet and salty foods, it is a primal instinct surely. Sponge Bob carrots are less popular that Sponge Bob Graham Crackers, it took Yale to work this out?

How about this for an experiment, chocolate bars with pictures or road kill, and carrots with pictures or winged kittens sledging down a rainbow into a pot of money; anyone thing I would get good odds on the chocolate being picked last?
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Re: Most pointless experiment....ever!

Unread postby willow » Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:40 am

I think the study was related to the Mcdonalds branding study which showed that putting things like carrots or vegitables into mcdonalds packaging made them more popular with children as young as 3. There was the idea that we could use popular childrens characters and advertising to make healthier foods more appealing to children given the preceident.
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Re: Most pointless experiment....ever!

Unread postby UnwantedSunbeam » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:45 am

The trouble with that concept willow is that if you are in a McDonalds with your kids then you have failed on the health choice anyway. A bag of carrots with the sugar salted beef that they pass as a burger is not going to help. Good for corporate PR tho.
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response. "I don't know", Alice answered. "Then", said the cat, "It doesn't matter.”
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Re: Most pointless experiment....ever!

Unread postby willow » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:59 am

The idea behind the mcdonalds experiment wasnt about healthy choices or what not, it was an experiment in product "branding" in children. It showed that children as young as 3 are affected by brand marketing and advertising, as well as that the brand in some cases is more important in determining taste then the product itself. Using stickers on healthy food was an attempt to take advantage of this kind of product branding, the child likes spongebob so it will want food with spongebob on it. The disconnect comes I think because mcdonalds is a brand the child directly associates with tasting good, while spongebob isnt.

A similar experiment showed that medication is more effective if it is an odd size, colour or tastes bad then the exact same medication in normal colours or candy coated to taste good because we expect medicine to taste bad.
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Re: Most pointless experiment....ever!

Unread postby HalloweenWeed » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:56 pm

This is not an argument to either of you, just my 2-cents:

Children have an enormous effect on the food purchases of the average housewife. As you may already know, many housewives shop with their children as they refuse to pay for daycare or babysitter while doing so. And of those, many are just nagged to death about certain foods the child wants, regardless of the taste or whether or not the child will actually like it. In one case, the mom told her child ahead of time he would not like it, and they ended up buying it anyway. I have personally seen children get the food they wanted from their mom in the GS, then not eat it bc they did not like it. Even the ones who don't go to the GS with the mom still have an effect. Their mom wants to use that to 'treat' them (understandably). That's why they make these kinds of studies, not only to find out what works (in the case of corporate-funded studies), but to find out the consequences as well (university studies). In the case of the OP, it may have even been a person or ppls trying to become better at corporate marketing.
Last edited by HalloweenWeed on Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: fixed typo
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Re: Most pointless experiment....ever!

Unread postby UnwantedSunbeam » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:27 am

I agree HW if you look at most supermarkets the have deliberately set kid enticing treats lower down the shelves. Usually about 3 feet level, which is right in the eye line of the average under 5.

I also like how you use the term 'treat' as this seems to be what the McDonalds marketing team have very successfully made their brand. I know people who 'treat' the kids to a McDs for doing well at homework or passing a test.

I think the food depends on the style of preparation, most vegetables don't appeal to me and I have years of taste bud degradation. So I can only imagine how crap cabbage must take for a 3 year old. Although if their palette is used to chocolate and processed, flavour enhanced foods then the humble vegetable stands no chance.
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response. "I don't know", Alice answered. "Then", said the cat, "It doesn't matter.”
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