Study: Kids Think Cartoon Characters Make Food Taste Better Hartford Courant Arielle Levin Becker reports that there's nothing existential about the impact of cartoon characters on children's attitudes toward the food they eat. It's quite cut and dried, in fact: Researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University find that putting characters such as Dora the Explorer or Scooby Doo on food packaging can make children think the food inside tastes better than the same food packaged without the characters. Forty children aged 3 to 6 were each given two samples of graham crackers, gummy fruit snacks and baby carrots. They were asked whether the two samples tasted the same, or whether one tasted better. The majority said that the food with the character on the package tasted better and that they would pick it for a snack, but the advantage was less strong for carrots. "To me, what this shows is that the influence of characters is really so powerful, they're powerful enough to actually have kids think that the food tastes better and that they want to choose it for snacks," says Christina Roberto, a graduate student at the Rudd Center and lead author of the study. The authors suggest that the use of licensed characters on junk food packaging be restricted.
Amazon.com Claims It's Selling 80% More E-Books Than Hardcovers Los Angeles Times Shan Li reports that a recent cut in the price of Amazon's Kindle is probably a major factor in the fact that, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says, "The Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format." The more popular paperback books were not included in Amazon's announcement. Kindle sales tripled after the company lowered the price to $189 from $259 last month, Li writes. That move closely followed a similar one by Barnes & Noble, which cut its rival e-book reader, Nook, to $199 and intro'd a $150 version. Without more detailed financial information, it is difficult for analysts to gauge how Amazon is doing in the e-book area. Said Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Financial, "In our opinion, they are losing money on a lot of the bestsellers sold as e-books." The company is much more likely to be making a profit on sales of its Kindle device, he said, even with the price cut.
Nielsen Says Boomers Are Where It's At, Baby Ad Age, DM News Brian Steinberg reports that, according to Nielsen researchers, advertisers' focus on younger customers between the ages of 18 and 49 is out of date, thanks to a massive population of baby boomers, smaller salaries for younger families who are also likely to have fewer children, and changes in consumers' lifestyle sparked by new technology. The key point is that there will be a lot of geezers trolling the aisles in coming decades. "This is not something that demographers and anthropologists have tons of models sitting around that they can talk about," says Doug Anderson, Nielsen's senior vp-research and thought leadership. "We as a species have never had this many older people before. It's new ground." Boomers in 2010 account for approximately 38.5% of all dollars spent on consumer package-goods such as diapers, toothpaste and laundry detergent, Nielsen says, as well as 40% of customers paying for wireless services and 41% paying for Apple computers. Changing technology spawns new brand loyalties no matter what age the consumer may be, it points out. DMNews' Jennifer Mann, meanwhile, offers case histories from Gaia Online and Rite Aid, both of whom are pursuing the skittish tween/teen market. "It's a road rife with pitfalls, but also rich in opportunity with the approximately 35 million teens in the U.S. controlling an estimated $208 billion in largely disposable income, according to Packaged Facts," Mann writes.
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