Do you dread shopping with your kids in tow ? There is whinging and whining, because grocery shopping is inherently B-O-R-I-N-G and NOT FUN. If truth be told, it is not just not FUN for kids, it is not FUN for grown ups either. But since, not eating, is NOT FUN………….. it is a necessary evil. The wheeling up and down the supermarket aisles is made worse by the I WANTS……
- I want the sweet which changes colour and looks like an alien
- I want the bright blue drink, which XYZ cartoon character drinks
- I want Captain Crunch cereal………….
And the don’t wants…. “I don’t want an apple, why can’t I have the apple flavoured candy – look it’s in a little packet, which will fit perfectly in my lunch box.” Eish ! You’re battling slick sophisticated marketing and your child’s sugar gremlin. And…..
Captain Crunch is watching
Your child. And his cousin, Captain Muesli is watching you. A group of researchers from Cornell University discovered the “spokes characters” for cereal brands are positioned in such a way, that they catch YOUR eye. And catching your eye, makes you way more likely to BUY.
Tip toeing through the cereal aisle
The Cornell team went shopping for cereal in 10 grocery stores…. their shopping spree was a little different, because it included a tape measure and a protractor. To start off…………. the team zeroed in on brands which spokes “characters” – pretty much all cereals aimed at kids, have a spokes character of one kind or another. These spokes “characters” typically take the form of superheros or lovable animals, they are prominently displayed on the front of the box. Spotting the spokes “character” for adult brands is a little more challenging, often they’re “real” humans, but sometimes they’re not……………
Just think of the happy cheerful rooster, who sits on that Corn Flakes® box
Next the team measured up the positioning of the cereal box using their tape measure. And then, with the help of their protractor, they looked deep into the eyes of the spokes “character” to determine exactly where they were looking.
The cereal boxes are eyeing you out
The team discovered the cereal boxes were positioned so that the spokes “character” made eye contact, every time. In the case of cereals being marketed to kids…
- the boxes were positioned on the lower shelf (approx. 60 cm or 23 inches off the ground)
- the character’s eyes tilted downward, at an angle of -9.6?
When the cereal was being marketed to an adult
- The boxes were positioned on a higher shelf (approx. 120 cm or 48 inches off the ground)
- The character’s eyes more-or-less look straight ahead, the inflection angle is only 0.4?
Creepy ? No……….. good marketing !
Seeing is buying
Curious, the team tested out the impact of cereal boxes that “look” at you. They discovered when they tweaked the position of their spokes “character”, Twix, an adorable rabbit, so it made eye contact – the cereal became more appealing. The appeal arises because, we’re wired to TRUST people who make eye contact. In everyday living, we shun people who don’t make eye contact, accusing them of being, “shifty” characters. And we buy from “people” we know, like and TRUST.
Put on blinkers
A trip down the cereal aisle is treacherous, the sugar laden cereal boxes are effectively boxes of HEALTH TROUBLES. You are battling ninja marketing techniques and sugar gremlins. You can battle sugar gremlins using a little CANDY FLOSS. Combating ninja marketing techniques is a whole lot more challenging. The secret – DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT ! This is probably easier said than done. First prize is to do the grocery shop ALONE, here are a few suggestions if this is not an option
- you could avoid the cereal aisle all together – a protein based breakfast is improves focus and thinking
- you could devise a strategy to keep your kids out of the cereal aisle. This is a strategy my Mom frequently used, she would park the trolley near the toys or stationary. (I had a fetish for fancy rubbers, stickers and pens, still do). As I distractedly browsed, she made a mad dash down the “forbidden” aisles, picking up the “necessities”.
- you strap on a pair of blinkers or induce a growth spurt by lifting your child up so that eye contact is avoided. Watch that the growth spurt doesn’t cause a hernia….
NOTE : The downside of the park and dash method, you will have to endure “I WANTS”……you can promise to buy the desired item next time and hope your child forgets. Most do. If you can’t win, spending a few cents on a packet of stickers is still a win. Better body chemistry is a priceless gift.
Use ninja marketing tricks
Spokes “characters” WORK. Find a way to use them in your own home. Try pinning a few vegetable characters in strategic places…….. ensure you adjust the height and gaze of the character so that your child gets mesmerized by its gaze and WANTS IT.
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Being a Mom is a huge responsibility and knowing how to protect and optimize your family’s health is challenging. Get tips and strategies from the world of science and help your little ones have Better Body Chemistry so they grow up healthy and avoid the lifestyle diseases.
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