You wouldn’t think that junk food had to work hard to lure kids, but it does work very hard. Rothco, the Irish Heart Foundation and Fresh The Good Food Market have commandeered one of its tactics to show how well they work – and to highlight the problem. The Sticky Problem aims to raise awareness of its petition while repurposing the same techniques for good, promoting healthier options.
Cereal marketing often targets children with alarming precision, according to a study by Cornell University. Characters on cereal boxes are commonly designed with a 9.67 degree downward gaze to gain eye contact with children and trigger “pester power”.
The partners borrowed the tactic by putting edible eyes on exactly half of the fruit and veg at Fresh The Good Food Market. It worked. 81% of the fruit and veg sold during the experiment had eyes and there was a 10% increase in sales overall on the day of the experiment – in some cases, a 50% increase.
The campaign is running on social and digital channels. The full campaign includes the main 1.50 minute video, key visuals and three display posters as well as photos of the display in-store will be launched.
Alan Kelly, chief creative officer of Rothco, part of Accenture Song, commented, “The design technique we mimicked is part genius and part sneaky. We need every tactic out there to help children choose healthy food. That means every tactic – even the slightly sneaky ones.”
Austin McGinley, head of marketing of Fresh The Good Food Market, added, “Fresh produce and eating well is so important to us, so it made sense for us to explore the idea of applying big brand tactics to products outside of the category. Any way that we can get more people to eat more healthily is a win for us and for our customers.”
Helena O’Donnell, Stop Targeting Kids campaign manager, Irish Heart Foundation, stated, “We know marketing tactics such as emotional engagement, cartoon characters, and fun competitions influence children’s eating behaviours. With more than 20% of children in Ireland living with childhood overweight and obesity, it’s time we flipped these marketing tactics on their heads and called out unhealthy food marketing to children. This innovative approach in associating positive emotions with healthy food will help influence children’s health and eating behaviours both now and into their futures.”