What happens when people look each other in the eyes?
Do you get a glimpse of the other person’s soul? Do you feel closer attached? Do you build trust?
If you think of the opposite situation, the feeling that something is ‘wrong’ can grow if people avoid eye contact: Maybe they are shy, maybe not willing to tell the truth, are indifferent about you and the situation or not mentally present.
On an interpersonal level, a lot of information can come from the gaze: Obtaining eye contact is often perceived as an invitation and as a sign of self-confidence.
But what about the effect of eye contact in the world of brand characters?
Is eye contact as important when it comes to brand characters as is between real life people?
A study of brand characters on cereal boxes done by Cornell University Food and Brand Lab shows that cereal producers clearly think that eye contact matters. On cereal boxes marketed for kids the gaze of the characters on boxes in 57 out of 86 cases are directed in an angle matching the young audience when passing by the shelves in the supermarket. On products directed towards adults the angle of the eyes are directed at a higher level.
As a result of that observation the researchers turned to the consumers and tested what cereal brand they trusted and felt the closest connection to. Trust and connection rose up to 28% when the character looked them straight in the eyes.
A recommendation for brand character designers who want to build trust and brand loyalty is to direct the gaze of the character at your target group since we seem to find reassurance and honesty in eye contact.