Getting Kids to eat Veggies

<via Contagious>

Everyone knows kids hate eating vegetables—it’s just fact. But Japanese sauce-maker Asazuke No Moto wanted to improve kids’ diets and drive sales, so they created a game to get kids to eat vegetables. Making that change in behavior is no easy feat!

The game is called Funfair in Your Mouth. It activates the computer’s webcam and tracks the player’s head and mouth position, the basic part of the game mechanism. The virtual space takes users through a plane ride or on a roller coaster challenging them to catch as many vegetables in their mouth as possible—but it only works if they chomp down on the vegetable too!

However, the challenge is to actually get kids to eat vegetables, so they leveraged the same technology to incentivize kids to request and eat vegetables. After the first level, the kids had to ask their parents for an actual vegetable to eat in order to continue to the next level. The program would identify the vegetables actually held in hand via the webcam to confirm they were actually eating a vegetable. The cam identified shape, color, and how much of the vegetable had been eaten, offering a burst of appropriately colored firework on screen for each bite taken.

The campaign saw 2.5M virtual vegetables eaten and 25K real vegetables consumed. Asazuke No Moto saw sales increase by 130%.

Why I’m Curious

Leveraging technology to require a behavior to unlock more content is nothing new. We’ve seen it with Like-gating Facebook pages, we’ve seen it with POS promotions in-store, and we’ve seen it with eCRM programs. However, none of these previous programs has tied the actual content of the program so seamlessly with the behavior they want to change. Sure, the content unlocked here is geared towards kids and is very cheesy, so I’m left wondering if the same sort of principles can be applied to campaigns geared towards adults that can equally surprise and delight?

Pizza hut tried a similar campaign with a Chomp-a-thon Facebook App, which required users to chomp through a digital pizza as quickly as possible with a chance to win a prize. This game was not as successful because the game mechanism wasn’t as easy to control. However, I’m also wondering if it wasn’t as successful because it wasn’t as targeted or as insight-driven as this vegetable sauce game.


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