The Magic Bag

The Magic Bag

We all have encountered it sometimes. You have to choose between a well-known brand, or a brand that you just don’t know. You will automatically choose for the brand that you know. It is because you know the quality of this product and you are just satisfied with it. This choice is fairly easy to make for adults, but how is this choice made by children? Kids are most of the time even more sensitive to brand-names than adults. This applies, for example, with the McDonalds. Kids do associate the big yellow M immediately with fries, snacks and a toy. In this article you get to know what the effect of this brand is on kids.

To get to know more information about this brand effect, I use a big American research. This research was held with an age between 3 and 5 years. In this research there was shown if children have the preference for just the name of the brand McDonalds. This was investigated by the appearance of the products. Each kid got two bags with food in them. One bag with the McDonalds logo on it, and one alternative bag. This research was held on purpose with the brand McDonalds, because it can be bought by the whole population of the United States.

The research
Number of participants 77
Number of participants

who completed the experiment



Age (Mean) 3.8
Sex (%M / %F) 44.6 / 55.4
McDonald’s visits (%)
<1/month 64.6
1-3/month 29.2
1/week 4.6
2-3/week 1.5


Each kid got two bags containing food. These contained both a quarter hamburger, one chicken nugget, three fries, two mini-carrots and half a cupcake. On the first bag was the logo and the text of McDonalds, and for the alternative bag there were three options. The test group was divided in three groups. The first group got a plain white bag, the second group got a coloured bag, and the last group got a bag with the Starbucks-logo. The results of the research you will find here.

Results research Preferred McDonalds No Preference Preferred alternative
Plain white bag (#21)
Hamburger 6 9 5
Chicken nugget 8 7 6
Fries 11 6 4
Carrot 11 6 4
Dessert 8 5 5
Coloured bag (#21)
Hamburger 5 9 6
Chicken nugget 6 8 7
Fries 6 9 6
Carrot 3 8 10
Dessert 7 6 5
Starbucks bag (#23)
Hamburger 7 7 7
Chicken nugget 5 16 1
Fries 3 14 5
Carrot 2 17 4
Dessert 6 10 5


Some important information can be concluded out of the results table. In the first place we see a significant difference in the category of the plain white bag. If we take a look at the results of the fries and the carrots, we can conclude that kids love them way more when they are put in the McDonalds bag, even though they are exactly the same. Where kids only choose 4 times the plain white bag, they choose in eleven cases for the McDonalds. Also, we see a big difference in the category of the coloured bag. Where kids chose in the first category for the carrot in the McDonalds bag 11 times, they only do this 3 times when they can choose for a coloured bag. This indicates that kids associate fruit with colours very much. Since the McDonalds bag is also a bit coloured, kids prefer this above the plain white bag. But when there is a real coloured bag, then will go immediately for that one. In the third category, we can’t really see significant differences. Most of the children don’t have a preference, although we can see a little difference at the chicken nugget.

But how is it possible that children will choose way more for the McDonalds bag instead of the alternative bag, which contains exactly the same food? This is because people, and children in particular, are attracted by things that they know. These known brands cause a prejudice which leads to a better taste for example, which is exactly the same. This is called brand identity. You can acquire brand identity for example by your name, logo and your service. This is what people identify you with. McDonalds is known for their fast-food service around the whole world.

Let me know in the comments if you expected this result, or that you were completely unaware of children’s choices. Do you also think you are sensitive for brand preferences? Let me know in the comments!     


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