Title
Endorsing children's appetite for healthy foods : celebrity versus non-celebrity spokes-characters Endorsing children's appetite for healthy foods : celebrity versus non-celebrity spokes-characters
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
München ,
Subject
Mass communications
Source (journal)
Communications : the European journal of communication research. - München, 1976, currens
Volume/pages
37(2012) :4 , p. 371-391
ISSN
0341-2059
1613-4087
ISI
000310689700004
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
This paper tests the comparative effectiveness of spokes-characters, both 'celebrity' and 'non-celebrity', in promoting healthy versus non-healthy foods. An experimental study among 6- to 7-year-old children in Belgium demonstrates that adding a spokes-character (i.e., a gnome) to a food product increases the appetite, the wished-for frequency of consumption and the expected number of purchase requests for that product. This finding holds true for healthy foods (apples and grapes) as well as for unhealthy foods (cookies and chocolate). The effect of the celebrity spokes-character exceeds that of a similar (but unknown) gnome. Nevertheless, the latter is also capable of promoting the healthy and unhealthy products. These findings suggest that using 'celebrity' spokes-characters to promote healthy foods to children might indeed be an effective strategy to change children's diets. Even the use of similar, non-celebrity (and thus cheaper) spokes-characters could be quite fruitful.
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