Silly Rabbit, Manipulative Marketing Tactics Are For Kids! – Exploring The Effectiveness Of Ethical Children's Cereal Packaging
TitleSilly Rabbit, Manipulative Marketing Tactics Are For Kids! – Exploring The Effectiveness Of Ethical Children's Cereal Packaging
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AbstractThrough packaging design, designers visually communicate the personality, feel, and quality of a product to potential consumers. When analyzing packaging in the cereal industry, there is a clear line drawn between the playful visual style of cereal targeted at children, and the mature visual style of cereal targeted at adults. Although children’s cereal products are being advertised successfully, the majority of products themselves are often high in sugar, contain artificial flavoring, and include other non-beneficial ingredients. Healthy children’s cereal products rarely receive the same level of engaging and story driven branding that competing unhealthy brands receive. Thus, unethical design standards are used to capitalize off of young children who are unable to fully comprehend advertising efforts. Rather than using design to persuade children into becoming consumers of unhealthy cereal products, the author explored the effects of these tactics when applied to a healthier alternative. She hypothesized that if influential design tactics from unhealthy cereal brands were applied to the packaging of a healthier cereal product, then children may feel visually influenced to try better-for-you options. The author gathered research related to children’s marketing tactics, used her findings to redesign a healthy cereal product, and conducted in person mini-interviews with elementary aged children to test her design against competing brands. Her primary hypothesis was supported, suggesting that children find healthier options with engaging packaging more appetizing and interesting that traditional healthy options. As a result of her study, the author hopes to highlight the importance of ethical design application, and in doing so, encourage positive change within the graphic design and children’s consumer goods industries.