There has been a great deal of noise this week regarding cartoon characters and children's preferences, much of it stemming from a recently released study in Pediatrics that proved something every parent already knew - kids prefer foods branded with cartoon characters.
Something else parents already know - kids also prefer Happy Meals sold with toys which is explicitly why the Center for Science in the Public Interest announced yesterday their intention to sue McDonald's if they don't stop packaging toys with their Happy Meals,
"McDonald’s practices are predatory and wrong. They are also illegal, because marketing to kids under eight is inherently deceptive, because young kids are not developmentally advanced enough to understand the persuasive intent of marketing; and unfair to parents, because marketing to children undermines parental authority and interferes with their ability to raise healthy children."While certainly not a statistically significant study, my favourite proof of this phenomenon came from the television program Dateline in 2006 where in the clip below you can watch kids tell their interviewer that they'd rather their parents place a rock with stickers into their lunchbox than an unfestooned banana.
(Clip's been finicky - if it doesn't work, head over here)