Well duh. A study by Matthew Lapierre at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communication indicates that kids say food tastes better when a beloved cartoon character endorses it. Even when they're fed the exact same food without the character endorsement.
Kids know that cartoon characters aren't real people, right? Apparently not.
Granted, this blind love can have healthy benefits, as Time illustrates:
In fact, researchers at the Sesame Workshop found that when children were asked to choose between chocolate and broccoli, 78% opted for the chocolate bar and 22% favored the healthy vegetable. But when an Elmo sticker was placed on the broccoli, and an unfamiliar character was placed on the chocolate, the broccoli fans swelled to 50%.
That's right - Elmo makes broccoli taste better than chocolate!
What other cartoon characters have tricked kiddos into eating stuff they might not normally eat?
The Simpsons and Butterfinger It's the candy that's the same color inside as the characters!
Garfield and Alpo Cat Food Any kid that grows up with a pet samples the kibble sooner or later. Garfield probably coerced them into it.
Animaniacs and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese We're the Animaniacs! There's macaroni in our slacks! And some baloney, too.
Underdog and Cheerios Oh no! Simon von Sinister has destroyed Cheerios by filling the holes and providing more food volume per box! Underdog, save us from higher value! Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog Franco-American Pasta Cartoon and video game character canned pasta: it's how douchebag gamer dudes were made in the '90s
The Pink Panther and Sweet n' Low Saccharine is awesome when it's made from ground panther bones!
The Peanuts Kids and Dolly Madison Cakes These ads were so seamless that it was hard to tell where "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" ended and the commercial begin. Also effective enough to make good ol' Chuck seek help from Dr. Lucy for an eating disorder.
Looney Toons and Their Namesake Drink Mix Kids who fell for the "100% NutraSweet, 100% vitamin C" characterized Kool-Aid bastardization were probably gullible enough to chase a road runner off a cliff.