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18 March 2016

Impact Of Candy Commercials May Be Temporary

Keywords: advertising, brands, food, ERC, Western Europe, consumer behavior, decision making, experiment, food commercials,

The effects of candy commercials do not persist over time, a study in the Journal of Children and Media shows. Findings reveal that chocolate candy commercials can influence children’s brand choice, but only right after the child has seen the commercial.

Take aways

  • Children (7- to 11-year olds) who see chocolate candy commercials on TV are more likely to choose the advertised brand. 
  • However, this is only the case immediately after they have seen the ad. 
  • This suggests that the effects of chocolate candy commercials do not persist over time. 
  • For advertisers as well as policy makers it is important to know that the duration of the effect of their commercials on children’s brand choice may fade within 15 minutes.
  • For parents, it is important to know that they should avoid their children to have access to food while they are using media that contains food advertising.

Study information

  • The question?

    Is children’s exposure to chocolate candy commercials on TV linked to their brand choice? 

  • Who?

    134 seven- to eleven-year-old children (mean age: 8 years old; 49% were girls)

  • Where?

    Vienna, Austria (Europe)

  • How?

    The researchers divided the children into two groups. In both groups the children watched a six-minute episode of ‘Tom & Jerry’, which was interrupted by a commercial break. Children in the control group viewed two nonfood-related commercials, while children in the experimental group viewed an additional third commercial of the chocolate candy brand ‘Kinder Schoko-Bons’. After the children watched the whole episode and the commercials, they were asked (one-by-one) to choose between three different chocolate candies (Nimm 2, Raffaell and the advertised candy brand Kinder Schoko-Bons). The researchers then compared the chocolate choices of the two groups of children. Because the time between exposure to the commercials and brand choice differed for each child, the researchers also looked at differences in time between exposure and candy selection (ranged from 3 to 37 minutes). 

Facts and findings

  • Children who saw the TV commercial of the chocolate candy brand ‘Kinder Schoko-Bons' were more likely to choose this candy brand when given the choice. 
  • However, this was only the case for those who were asked to choose between the three different chocolate candies right after exposure to the commercial (<15 minutes). 
  • Children who were asked for their brand choice a little later (15 to 37 minutes after advertising exposure), were not more likely to choose for the advertised brand. 
  • This implies that the effect of the candy commercial faded after 15 minutes.