As a huge cereal lover, this is really interesting stuff. Any brand character displayed on a cereal box makes eye contact with their target consumer - be that adult or child. And according to this research, it works.
Is it marketing psychology gone too far? The idea that these characters are deliberately designed to make eye contact with children from the shelf, to increase their emotional attachment to the brand, is a little worrying. But then is this any worse than the myriad of other marketing tactics employed in supermarkets?
Whether rightly or wrongly, the answer is probably not. Either way I find it fascinating. Will be sure to check it out next time I'm in Tesco's...
Cereal makers aren't throwing mascots on their boxes for fun. It's to create a psychological connection between a shopper and that box of dehydrated fruits and wheat flakes. But in the case of children's cereals, this four-foot stare is actually aimed at a much lower focal point. Cornell's researchers found that the eyes of spokescharacters on cereal boxes marketed to kids were aimed downward at a 9.6 degree angle; characters on adult boxes tended, on the other hand, to look straight ahead.