Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries Cereal Box: Analysis of Pathos and Style Influences on Young Consumers

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Have you ever brought a child down a cereal aisle and watched the child “oooh” and “awe” at the bright, entertaining and creative boxes of sugary breakfast? When creating the branding for cereal boxes, products think about their audiences and focus on what will grasp their attention. The next time you browse the aisles of the grocery store be sure to pay attention to the pirate inspired box of Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal. This cereal box has arisen the question of how does Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal use pathos of emotion and style to market to children audiences? Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal box evokes emotions of eagerness, excitement and happiness through the use of the marketing methods of pathos and style to engage young consumers.

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The analysis of Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal is important because it displays the many reason why children are drawn to certain cereals and shows how coral boxes uses a child’s vulnerability to influence them to beg for the box. In my analysis of the Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal box, I will begin by introducing my box and describing the external content and context of the box. Second, I will summarize the Neo-Aristotelian methods of Pathos and Style which are used when analyzing the cereal box. Third, I will explain how the color psychology is used to create the eager emotions on persuasion. Fourth, I will analyze the angles and strategies, which create emotion connection through eye contact with the targeted audience and the mascot. Lastly, I will review the style of the box that is created with the use of games and cartoon characters.

When visually reviewing the Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal box, I would describe my initial reaction at first glance of the box to be bright and powerful. The box strikes the eye with its sunshine yellow color and large-scaled, blue character who that overpowers the box with his bowl of cereal and jumbo smile. The back of the box grabs viewer’s attention with the wavy, blue ocean, the goofy characters and the entertaining word choices. When you stare into the front of the box, you also notice the Captain never seems to lose his stare, creating an illusion that he is feeding you his famous crunch berries. Also on the box, are word styles and messages that are corny, yet memorable. For example, “Crunch-a-tize ME Cap N’” and “Land Ahoy! It’s Crunchberry Cove! Braack!” These words are also in big colors with bolded and jumbled text creating a playful style. Along with the fun words are over sized crunch berries and games to play. When it comes to the context of the box, placement is ideal. The context of this box, when being viewed in the store, is at a perfect height for children to view while being surrounded by other child influencing cereal boxes.

When seeing the Cap N’ Crunch Berries at my local grocery store, I found and observed the box to be on the fourth shelf from the floor while also being surrounded by the other Cap N’ Crunch flavors and similar cereals such as fruity pebbles. Having this box surrounded by other Cap N’ Crunch flavors creates a more accessible way for consumers to expand options of the same cereal brand. The context of popularity also plays a role in the Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal box. In a statistic done by statista, it showed the “3.15 million Americans consumed 10 portions or more in 2018”. Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal is popular among consumers because of its world-famous captain character, the mascot’s voice on television commercials and visual appeal that has changed little since thee 1980’s. This has caused the cereal to be easy to identify and recognizable when browsing aisles.

The method of analysis, which I have used, is the Neo-Aristotelians method developed by Herbert A. Wichlens in 1925. This method of rhetorical criticism was named after philosopher, Aristotle and was designed to analyze an artifact with various steps to evaluate and find effects from the analysis. With this method, I chose to emphasis pathos and style when analyzing the box of the Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal. Pathos is a device of emotional rhetoric that draws audiences in with reactions and feelings that create an emotional connection with the argument. For example, the Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal box creates pathos through color and imaginative words to create a joyous and eager emotion that children can connect with. Style is a canon, which analyzes the language and imagery of the artifact to find out the tone or theme. For example, the invented cartoon characters show creativity and playfulness. I hope to implement pathos in my analysis when reviewing the emotional connection formed from the angles and eye contact, as well as the emotional connections of the color psychology that is printed throughout the box. I hope to analyze the style of the cereal box by reviewing the created words used for the descriptions and the ways in which the games and characters turn the box into a creative and animated piece of visual content.

When analyzing the box, I found color psychology to be a major factor in why children are drawn to the box and eager to buy the cereal. The most dominant colors of the cereal box visually are yellow and blue. According to Lauren Hooked, from Elle & Co. business sites, she uses the three words, “positivity, happiness and warmth” to describe the color yellow. In a list of emotional traits, the emotional traits of yellow, which connected most to the cereal, were cheerful, energy, joy and optimism. When a child sees the box they hope that the child feels one or more of these feelings. The box is psychologicly used to connect a child with a positive energy and to create a visual appeal that can be recognized with the cereal now and in the future. Hooker also highlights yellow as a color of caution or attention. When in a row of boxes, the yellow arrangement of the Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries box can yell at a consumer just simply by being yellow, causing the eye to wander towards the direction of the confident color. When your eyes travel to the center, you see large amounts of blue in the captain uniform and the fonts throughout the box. Hooker also states that blue is “dependable and trustworthy,” which we can clearly see on the box. The majority of the captain’s uniform is blue because he is the face of the brand. In the eyes of children, he is feeding them the cereal through the dramatization portrayed in the front of the box. Without knowing, blue creates a safe and trusting relationship for children to develop with the mascot.

In a study published by Environment and Behavior it explains that, “the characters on cereal boxes gaze at prospective buyers from different angle. This issue has resulted in a controversial argument that lead to emotions of unease for some but a positive emotional outcome for their targeted audience. This brings up the controversial top of “why is Cap N’ Crunch looking down at my child?” In the article “Cap N’ Crunch is looking at you,” by Rachel Nuewer, it explains how eye contact with a person can influence an audience, but unlike children, adults can’t be influenced by a “two-dimensional, cardboard, freakish-looking character,” which is why the cereal box is placed where it is. Baidon’s article provides statistical evidence in which “children’s cereal boxes is measures 23 inches from the ground versus 48 inches for adult cereals.” These measurements are results that explain why children’s cereal boxes are being placed on the bottom two shelves versus the adults on the top two.

When it comes to Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries specifically, the box is strategically placed so that captain’s eyes make eye contact with young consumers. “Findings show that brand trust was 16% higher and the feeling of connection to the brand was 28% higher when the character made eye contact,” states Cereal Box Psychology. Aside from shelf and height patterns, angles of eye contact are also a strategy. In Nuwer’s article she discusses that children’s cereal boxes character gazes are angled at 9.6 degrees to reach the perfect eye connection. In contrast, adults is target angle is 0.4 degree which is a 10 degrees difference from their little ones. These tricks strategically create an emotional appeal to children in which they confidently feel a strong and powerful connection with the characters. The elaborate details on the Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal box portray a playful yet creative style that attracts consumers to the box. According to the journal, “Children as Consumers: Advertising and Marketing,” the use of repetition of a message creates a language style of familiarity which increases the chances of the product getting purchased. Throughout the Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries box, we see the slogan “Crunch-a-tize me Cap N’,” which is a goofy slogan that goes along with the style aspects but also imprints a catchy slogan into viewers minds. In the common theme of the box, the make-believe imagery of the pirate characters influences the way the children view the box and impact their changes of the taste. In a study conducted into the journal, “Influence of Licensed Spokescharacters and Health Cues of Children’s Rating of Cereal Taste,” it explains, “cartoon characters have a strong influence on how kids evaluate the taste of cereal, enough to override their nutritional concerns.” The article goes into more detail saying that children recognize with these characters and prefer to eat products with cartoon characters whether they like the taste or not. The imagery created on the box with the cartoon characters is also important in attracting young consumers because “young children remember nonverbal representation more readily than verbal descriptions.”

The branded style of pirates and characters that Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal has developed, as well as the catchy slogans, creates a strong visual appeal for children and can influence their opinions based on the imagery of the box Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal boxes use pathos and style to emotionally connect with young consumers through the projection of positively influencing colors, creating eye-to-eye emotional connection with angles along with height, and developing imagery, which children recognize with.

After studying the strategies and tricks which brands like Cap N’ Crunch use to attract young audiences, I think it is important for parents to understand how susceptible children are become easily influenced by these visual persuasions. Overall, the Cap N’ Crunchs’ Crunch Berries cereal box has a wide variety of emotional and imagery connections to influence children to want their product. Next time you step into the grocery store, check the content and context of children’s cereal boxes. You will quickly notice the strategies created from pathos and style in a majority of children’s cereal products.

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