Young children's fast food brand knowledge, preference and equity

Claire Lambert

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

Today's children are a multi-billion dollar consumer market that not only has the power to spend their own money but directly influences the spending for household consumer purchases. They present an extremely healthy and potentially long term wealthy consumer market for marketers to target and reap the benefits from their loyalty. However, the area of young children's consumer behaviour is significantly under researched. Very little is known about how young children develop preferences, make brand choices, and develop equity towards a brand. This study investigates the brand knowledge elements associated with brand preference and brand equity for young children. An experimental procedure was employed utilising personal interviews and collecting data from five Australian Day Care facilities and four Australian Community Pre-school Centres. The respondents were three and four year old children, who performed a game involving questions about fast food brands. The hypotheses explored various aspects of brand knowledge (e.g., brand awareness) and, their influence on the child's initial preference between fast food choices (brand preference), and their loyalty when tempted by a toy and their second choice (brand equity). The study's analysis was divided into two parts. The first part determined whether there were any significant differences evident between three and four year old children in relation to the effect of brand awareness, affect toward, and brand image in brand preference and brand equity using chi-square analyses. The second part of the analysis employed binary logistic regression analyses to determine which elements of brand knowledge influenced a child's brand preference and brand equity regarding fast foods. 2 The study found there were no major differences between a three year old and a four year old in relation to the influences of brand awareness, affect toward, and brand image in brand preference or brand equity. The binary logistic regression analysis found that brand images provided the greatest effect in explaining and predicting brand preference and provided a contributing influence in brand equity. Brand awareness was found to provide the second greatest effect on brand preference and the greatest effect on brand equity, and affect towards the brand or main menu item provided the least amount of effect in explaining and predicting brand preference and brand equity for 3 and 4 year old children. The research also comments on the use of a toy as a marketing tool to lure children to a brand and provides suggestions for future research. Marketing, managerial and public policy implications are also provided.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008

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