Ronald McDonald vs. The Jolly Green Giant: Understanding Children's Brand Recognition

Open Access
Connell, Lauren Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Biobehavioral Health
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Lori Anne Francis, Thesis Supervisor
  • Patricia Barthalow Koch, Faculty Reader
  • Lori Anne Francis, Honors Advisor
  • media
  • obesity
  • children
  • food preferences
  • BMI
Current trends indicate that both childhood obesity and childhood media exposure are on the rise. Previous research suggests a strong association between children, the media and obesity; prompting the theory behind this study. The purpose of this study was to investigate children’s ability to recognize brand images associated with food items and in turn investigate the relationship between a child’s brand familiarity and their preference for those items. Participants included 30 families recruited from two childcare facilities in State College, Pennsylvania. Children were aged 3-5 at the time of the study and were interviewed individually to obtain data. Data were collected from participating children’s parents through a questionnaire measuring demographic information, their child’s media exposure and various factors associated with family life and feeding their child/children. Results of the study indicate that overall children were able to identify more brand images associated with junk food than those associated with healthy foods (T = 2.19, p < .05), that a child’s ability to identify junk food brand images is related to the amount they watch television (r = 0.65, p < 0.005) and the amount they use the computer (r = ..43, p < 0.05). This research can be used to further research in understanding how the media might be used to promote healthy foods, and to prompt further research on the underlying relationship between media exposure and children’s food preferences.