Communications 37 (4):371-391 (2012)

Abstract
This paper tests the comparative effectiveness of spokes-characters, both ‘celebrity’ and ‘non-celebrity’, in promoting healthy versus non-healthy foods. An experimental study among 6- to 7-year-old children in Belgium demonstrates that adding a spokes-character to a food product increases the appetite, the wished-for frequency of consumption and the expected number of purchase requests for that product. This finding holds true for healthy foods as well as for unhealthy foods. The effect of the celebrity spokes-character exceeds that of a similar gnome. Nevertheless, the latter is also capable of promoting the healthy and unhealthy products. These findings suggest that using ‘celebrity’ spokes-characters to promote healthy foods to children might indeed be an effective strategy to change children’s diets. Even the use of similar, non-celebrity spokes-characters could be quite fruitful.
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DOI 10.1515/commun-2012-0021
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