Use a Rabbit or a Rhino to Sell a Carrot? The Effect of Character-Product Congruence on Children's Liking of Healthy Foods.
ABSTRACT This study investigated whether unfamiliar characters are as effective as familiar characters in stimulating children's affective responses toward healthy foods. In particular, the authors investigated whether an unfamiliar character which is congruent with a product can be as effective as a familiar character. The authors tested 2 types of character-product congruence: conceptual congruence (on the basis of a familiar link), and perceptual congruence (on the basis of color similarity). In a repeated measures design, 166 children (4-6 years old) were exposed to a picture of a carrot combined randomly with 5 different types of character: an (incongruent) familiar character and four unfamiliar characters varying in character-product congruence (i.e., both conceptually and perceptually congruent, conceptual only, perceptual only, and incongruent). The authors measured children's automatic affective responses toward these character-product combinations using a time-constrained task, and elaborate affective responses using a nonconstrained task. Results revealed that the conceptually congruent unfamiliar characters were just as effective as the familiar character in increasing children's automatic affective responses. However, the familiar character triggered the most positive elaborate affective responses. Results are explained in light of processing fluency and parasocial relationship theories.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Moniek Buijzen, Aug 21, 2014
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ABSTRACT: The present study investigated whether and how a picture book promoting carrots can increase young children's carrot consumption. One hundred and four children (aged 4-6 years) participated in shared reading sessions using the book on five consecutive days in school. These children were assigned randomly to one of four experimental conditions. In a 2 x 2 between-subjects design, the reading style and character in the book were manipulated. The reading style was either passive (listening to the story) or interactive (also answering questions about the story). The character in the book fitted either conceptually well with carrots (a rabbit) or not (a turtle). Compared to a baseline group of 56 children who were not exposed to the book, the children in the experimental groups consumed almost twice as much carrots (in proportion to other foods consumed), F(1,159) = 7.08, p < .01. Results suggest that picture books are particularly effective when children are actively involved, answering questions about the story. Young children seem to enjoy this interactive shared reading style, triggering positive feelings that increase children's liking and consumption of the healthy food promoted in the book.Appetite 11/2013; 73. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2013.10.018 · 2.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The capacity model is designed to predict young children's learning from educational television. It posits that select program features and individual child characteristics can support this learning either by increasing total working memory allocated to the program or altering the allocation of working memory. In this study, the influence of one such program feature (participatory cues) and one such child characteristic (program familiarity) on educational content comprehension was investigated. A total of 187 American preschool-aged children (M = 4.35 years) were randomly assigned to view one of two versions of Dora the Explorer—one version contained participatory cues (i.e., cues that encourage children to respond to queries during the program) while in the other these cues were omitted. All children completed a program familiarity assessment prior to viewing and completed an educational content assessment post-viewing. There was no significant main effect for participatory cues, although, as expected, program familiarity was positively associated with educational content comprehension. In line with expectations, program familiarity was found to moderate the relationship between participatory cues and educational comprehension—the combination of high program familiarity and the presence of participatory cues led to the greatest educational content comprehension. Implications are discussed.Media Psychology 07/2014; 17(3):311. DOI:10.1080/15213269.2014.932288 · 1.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Reducing the extent and persuasive power of marketing unhealthy foods to children worldwide are important obesity prevention goals. Research is limited to understand how brand mascots and cartoon media characters influence children's diet. We conducted a systematic review of five electronic databases (2000-2014) to identify experimental studies that measured how food companies' mascots and entertainment companies' media characters influence up to 12 diet-related cognitive, behavioural and health outcomes for children under 12 years. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies used 21 unique popular media characters, but no brand mascots. Results suggest that cartoon media character branding can positively increase children's fruit or vegetable intake compared with no character branding. However, familiar media character branding is a more powerful influence on children's food preferences, choices and intake, especially for energy-dense and nutrient-poor foods (e.g. cookies, candy or chocolate) compared with fruits or vegetables. Future research should use a theoretically grounded conceptual model and larger and more diverse samples across settings to produce stronger findings for mediating and moderating factors. Future research can be used to inform the deliberations of policymakers, practitioners and advocates regarding how media character marketing should be used to support healthy food environments for children. © 2014 The Authors. Obesity Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of World Obesity.Obesity Reviews 12/2014; DOI:10.1111/obr.12237 · 7.86 Impact Factor