Kids Are Dumb, Think Cartoons Make Cereal Taste Better

A new study confirms that marketing has a tremendous influence over kids (or they just have a hankering for delicious penguins). University of Pennsylvania researchers gave 80 children, ages 4 though 6, a "new" cereal from one of four boxes. The cereals were called Sugar Bits and Healthy bits, and one box of each type featured characters from Happy Feet while the other had no characters on the package. Kids who had cereal from the boxes with cartoons said it tasted better than the kids who ate from the plain box. Surprisingly, they liked Healthy Bits more than Sugar Bits, but the illustration on the box was still the most important factor. "When there was a character on the box, they liked the cereal a lot, and it didn't matter what the name of the cereal was," says lead author Sarah Vaala. "Once you put a character on the box, that overrides their judgment of the health merits of the food."