When my boys were much younger, my wife and I would resort to desperate attempts to finish long road trips without stopping every few miles. The kids would spy the famous golden arches, and the whimpers of “Can we stop?” would quickly escalate to screams of “Life isn’t worth living anymore!” if we kept going. (My wife and I would scream that, not the kids.) So we learned to spot the McDonald’s or Burger King or (fill-in-the-blank fast food place) logo first, and divert their attention as we drove by. Desperate parents do desperate things on road trips. Ask me about benadryl sometimes.
There’s a new study of brand recognition in kids that shows that even children who can’t read can recognize corporate logos like McDonald’s, Disney, and even Toyota.
From ABC News:
“The study, which involved 38 Australian preschool children ages 3 to nearly 5 years old, found that while the children were not yet able to read, they often knew exactly which logo corresponded with which brand. Certain logos — including those for fast food chains (McDonald’s), entertainment companies (Disney, the parent company of ABC News, and Warner Brothers) and cars (Toyota) — proved especially recognizable. Others, including those for clothing (Nike) and personal care (Kleenex), fared considerably worse. (No children in the study recognized the Kleenex logo. Kleenex spokesman Joey Mooring said he was unfamiliar with the study but added that Kleenex’s “primary consumer demographic” is “moms.”)
The researchers were especially surprised to find children identifying brands whose marketing doesn’t appear to target kids, including Toyota, which was recognized by 80 percent of the study’s participants, and Shell, which was recognized by nearly 53 percent.
McAlister had a couple of theories to explain why brands like Shell and Toyota get kids’ attention. For the former, children might associate trips to the gas station with stops for treats at a gas station convenience store, she said. For the latter, children may recognize car brands because they’ve learned to distinguish between their parents’ cars and those of others.”
So even before my kids could read, they could recognize the logo of a product that benefited them (food, toys, playground, etc.) I know, it’s one of those studies that have you saying “Duh, that was obvious!” True, but now my wife and I have official proof on who we can blame for ruining our road trips.