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Let's Make Eye Contact: The Cereal Connection

Researchers at Cornell Universitywanted to determine what role the eye contact of spokes characters on both adult and children's cereal boxes played in the consumer's decision. The results were intriguing and may point to why some brands have experienced greater longevity than other brands. Two studies were conducted. In the first study, the eye positioning and shelf placement of 86 cereal spokes-characters were evaluated in 10 grocery stores in the Eastern United States. Researchers calculated the average height of the cereal boxes for adult cereals compared to children's cereals and the angle of the characters' gaze was also analyzed. It was discovered that the cereal characters make incidental eye contact at both the children's and the adults' eye level. The second study found that the eye contact of the characters increased feelings of trust and the customers felt a connection with the brand and resulted in a choice of that brand over their competitors. This feeling of a "relationship" with a brand could help explain why those brands that have fancy graphics but don't have a character that can provide eye contact have failed.*

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