Watching Popeye the Sailor when I was younger, I remember wanting to eat spinach, just like him. It's strange because aren't kids supposed to hate spinach? I mean, sure, Popeye eats it too, but is that enough to convince a little kid to eat the gross green stuff? Apparently so, because I still did.
That makes me wonder what an immense impact such product placement can have. It's one thing to have Popeye star in a commercial that advertises spinach, but it's another to have a whole series go with this theme. Every episode built up to that moment when he whips out his can of spinach, eats it, and beats up the enemies. So I'm wondering, was I the only one who bought into this whole spinach thing?
Studies show that between 1931 and 1936, as Popeye gained popularity, spinach consumption in the USA increased by 33% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popeye#Spinach). It seems, though, this is not just a generational thing. A recent study from 2010 found that kids who were shown Popeye cartoons increased their vegetable consumption by a significant amount (ibid).
Makes you wonder whether the Veggie Monster--no, pardon me, it's Cookie Monster with a balanced diet--has the same effect on his young audience...
--post by Erik