Eye contact helps humans to build trust and confidence with others, but does this relationship extend to the brands we know and love?  To examine the influence of cereal box spokes-characters Cornell Food and Brand Lab Researchers Aner Tal and Brian Wansink, in collaboration with Aviva Musicus, asked two questions:

  1. Do cereal characters make eye contact?
  2. Does eye contact with cereal spokes-characters influence choice?

In this study, we first aimed to show that cereal spokes-characters make eye contact with consumers by measuring the angle of the cereal characters’ eye gaze.  This helps to determine if incidental eye contact with children is possible as they walk by. Next, we examined whether or not eye contact influences one’s preference or choice in cereal.

The completed study consisted of 65 cereals in 10 different grocery stores, and found that trust for and connection to a brand are increased when eye contact is established. The researchers came to that conclusion after participants viewed two versions of a Trix cereal box, one in which eye contact was made and one in which it was not. They also found that when the Trix rabbit made eye contact, “brand trust” increased by 16% and “feeling of connection to the brand” rose 28%.

Disclaimer:  I love cereal.