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15 February 2012

For Kids, Dental Health Takes a Back Seat to Brand Popularity

Keywords: brands, health, kids, learning, Western Europe, dental care, experiment, resistance, social policy,

When kids are warned about unhealthy drinks they listen, according to a study from the International Conference on Research in Advertising. However, this is only the case when the drink is branded with an unpopular brand. A popular brand overrules the impact of the warning.

Take aways

  • Kids do make healthier choices with health info and warnings.
  • Health is not as important to kids as the brand of drink: The effect of health warnings can be overruled by a popular brand.

Study information

  • The question?

    Do health warnings influence children’s purchase decisions and how do they compete with brand popularity?

  • Who?

    108 9- to 11-year-olds

  • Where?


  • How?

    Researchers invited children to choose between two drinks: a sugary drink (orangeade) and a drink without added sugar (apple juice with sparkling mineral water). Some of the children were offered drinks with a popular brand (Adidas) or unpopular brand (Barbie). Half of the kids were warned to remember “orangeade isn’t good for your teeth!” Finally, the researchers asked the kids whether they thought the drink was healthy or not.

Facts and findings

  • After being warned, kids usually realized the sugary drink was unhealthy and were less likely to choose it over the no-sugar-added one.
  • However with a popular brand on the sugary drink, the health warning didn’t change anything. In other words, a popular brand overrides a health warning.
  • Fun fact: The German kids—both boys and girls—in the study chose Adidas as the most popular and Barbie as the least popular brand.