Games sell candy and snacks to kids. Better than ads.

Science Daily reports on the battle ground of our kids’ psyches, revealing that kids are interacting with – and being manipulated by – ads they don’t even recognize:

At least once a week, two thirds of all children of primary-school age will play an internet game that was created to draw attention to a brand. Most of these advertisements are for snacks and candy. Only 6% of these children are aware that such advergames are advertisements. In the meantime, such games do affect their behaviour, discovered Frans Folkvord… a behavioural scientist at Radboud University.

[S]hortly after playing a game with an embedded food advertisement, children ate 55% more of the candy offered to them than children who had played a game with an embedded toy advertisement. Frans Folkvord tested the effects of such hidden online food advertisements on the eating behaviour of more than 1000 children.

Folkvord discovered that children do not recognise the games as advertisements, even when brand names and logos are clearly visible. Moreover, it does not matter whether the games are about candy or fruit: children eat more candy after playing a game involving food.