Shoppers are 16 percent more likely to trust a brand of cereal when a character on the box makes eye contact, increasing positive feelings toward the product and encouraging them to buy it, reports a new study.
The characters on adult cereals typically look ahead, the researchers found, while those on kids' cereals look downward on average at a 9.6-degree angle.
"If you are a parent who does not want your kids to go 'cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,' avoid taking them down the cereal aisle," said Director of Cornell's Food and Brand Lab Brian Wansink, in a release. "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.
The researchers also examined cereal box placement on store shelves, and the results weren't too surprising: Adult cereals are placed, on average, twice as high as kids' cereals.
"By studying more than 80 breakfast spokes-characters, we found that kids' cereals are positioned at the same height as kids," said Brand Lab researcher Aner Tal, "and adult's cereals are positioned at about 48 inches off of the floor."
The study was published in the Journal of Environment and Behavior. You can see a short video that re-caps the findings here.