Cheetos Ethnography

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<ul><li><p>Ethnography of Tweens and Gatekeepers</p><p>June, 2005</p><p>BBDO NEW YORK STRATEGIC SERVICES </p></li><li><p>Objectives</p><p> What is Tween life about today? Developmental issues that pertain </p><p>to snacking behavior What does Cheetos represent to </p><p>kids? What separates Cheetos from other </p><p>macrosnacks? What is it about Cheetos they love? </p><p> What is the value of Chester to Tweens? </p><p> How do moms think about snacks? </p><p> What is the value of Cheetos to moms?</p></li><li><p>What we Did</p><p> 6 ethnographic interviews of Tweens with buddy </p><p> 6 interviews with Moms/gatekeepers </p><p> Two geographic locales OC, California Baltimore, MD </p><p> Homework assignment Day in life of me, what </p><p>Cheetos is and is not Tour of room, pantry, </p><p>cupboards, outdoor activities</p></li><li><p>Tweens psycho-social stage</p><p>Key developmental phase creates tension Leaving childhood, beginning adolescence </p><p>!!</p><p>! Separating from parents Attaching to friends Demonstrating skills to succeed in life</p><p>Individuality group affiliation</p><p>Parental attachment</p></li><li><p>Tweens psycho-social stage</p><p> Stage is characterized by Fantasy/imagination vs. real </p><p>world limits Learning individual skills and </p><p>expressing likes vs. accept what is given to them </p><p> Peer group affiliation vs. alone/family </p><p> Clinical name: Individuation and Industry </p><p> Being Industrious and expressing likes involve doing things with others who share similar interests and skills </p><p> (Erik Erikson)</p></li><li><p>Industry</p><p> Building Mastery in life Characterized as world of learning </p><p>appropriate skills Not only physical but psychological </p><p> Testing physical limits =&gt; expanding boundaries of self </p><p> Testing limits in videogames (violence, excessive force, smashing things) </p><p> in sports skateboarding, dirt bikes, biking, football </p><p> in food choices, ways of eating foods </p></li><li><p>Individuation </p><p> Tweens build a separate life Separate skills and likes apart from parents, </p><p>siblings Doing things at school parents dont know </p><p>about Enjoying music outside of parents tastes Eating snacks that mom may find unappealing </p><p> For tweens, snacks are their choices, while food equals meals under parental control Parents want you to eat your vegetables Compared to freedom of snacking behavior Cool food = snacks Not cool food = meals (because of parental </p><p>associations)</p></li><li><p>Attaching to Friends</p><p> Tension between wanting to be like others and wanting to be yourself Normal part of early adolescence </p><p> Sameness is important Safe to be like others </p><p> Who eats Cheetos? Tweens say our friends, kids like us, kids, not old people like our grandparents </p><p> Yet, there is desire to prove oneself against peers Assert uniqueness </p><p> E.g., who is stronger at arm wrestling, who can run the fastest, who can do more tricks on a basketball court</p></li><li><p>Individuation and Industry</p><p> Friends = people like me Shared physical and social skills </p><p> Do the same things, share the same interests </p><p> Specific sports, music, clothes, food, etc. Like same things, share same values </p><p> You can tell a friend and keep a secret. (female tween) </p><p> A friend is always there, goes through things with you. (male tween) </p><p> Authenticity = sameness, apart from parents Cool is what I like and what my friends </p><p>like If everybody thinks its cool, then it is. You </p><p>ask your friends and people who are cool. Snacks that our friends like are usually </p><p>the same as us, but its what they like.</p></li><li><p>Snacks in the Tween world</p><p> Tweens differentiate snacks by functional categories Snacks that require preparation vs. ready to eat </p><p> E.g., Grilled cheese sandwich, Soup at Hand, Bagel Bites vs. chips, cookies, ice pops </p><p> Also means snacks mom makes vs. snacks I get myself </p><p> By time of day eaten Mostly determined by Time bound factors </p><p> E.g., Pop-tarts for breakfast Jello, chips, Twix after school Cookies, popcorn after supper</p></li><li><p>Snacks in the Tween world</p><p> Also differentiate snacks on sensory dimensions Gushers = gumminess, slimy Oreos = creamy middle Popcorn = buttery, salty Pudding = cold, smooth, </p><p>chocolaty Salty vs. sweet are not </p><p>orienting categories Tweens dont divide snacks </p><p>into salty and sweet when choosing what to eat </p><p> They choose by cravings What I feel like now</p></li><li><p>Snacks in the Tween world</p><p> Tweens eat a wide variety of snacks Seeing is a key motivator </p><p> Go into kitchen, check out what we have </p><p> See commercial on TV, see in store Sight inspires desire </p><p> Often crave specific brands If craving for Cheetos and there are </p><p>none to be found, choose something else usually outside chip category </p><p> E.g., ramen noodles, popcorn Cheetos are not replaceable </p><p> Cheetos are recognized as popular Important to tweens Sameness in relation to friends (early </p><p>adolescent</p></li><li><p>Snacks in the Tween world</p><p> Snacks are world of tweens Skill set they actively pursue and </p><p>share with peers Always want to try new snacks </p><p> Actively explore different snacks Notice ads for new snacks on TV Go to store with Mom and check snack </p><p>aisle Observe/sample what other kids bring </p><p>to school Look at newspaper for new snacks </p><p> Experiment with new brands and flavors </p><p> Typically once a month Aware of new Cheetos flavors </p><p> News they spread to friends, schoolmates</p></li><li><p>Why Tweens Like Cheetos</p><p> Tweens perceive world of snacks as a sphere of independence </p><p> Source of mastery, empowerment, their turf Few parental rules about snacking Free to snack on what they like at any time </p><p> Snacks are perfect for demonstrating individuality and sociability </p><p> Cheetos lets them demonstrate individual skills and collective likes</p></li><li><p>Cheetos: Testing Sensory Limits</p><p> Tweens bring total sensory energies to Cheetos </p><p> Eat through heightened sensory acuity Taste </p><p> Cheetos taste is catalyst for challenges Extreme Cheesiness </p><p> Dangerously Cheesy Spicy, Flamin Hot </p><p> Daring the other to hold out Drinking with water so the fire inside </p><p>explodes Inspires cravings </p><p> Tongue drooling for Cheetos Boast in stories about quantity consumed </p><p> Eating multiple bags at one time Parents taking to doctor for eating too much</p></li><li><p>Cheetos: Testing Sensory Limits</p><p> Sight Shapes and texture conjure imagination, fantasy </p><p> Cylinders with bumps Torpedoes Alien </p><p> Exploration and adventure in each Cheetos bag Never know what shape is next Fat or skinny, theyre all different Look at this one, 2 are stuck together, weird shape. </p><p> Smell Aroma evokes long distance acuity </p><p> If somebody opens a bag of Cheetos downstairs, I smell it. smell = feeding frenzy </p><p> Its like a shark attracted to blood.</p></li><li><p>Cheetos: Testing Sensory Limits</p><p> Hear Crunch sound is loud </p><p> Its fun to make noise. Emphasize crunch sound with eating patterns </p><p> E.g., bite off small bits of a Cheetos rapidly like a beaver E.g., put in mouth and use teeth to crunch, crunch, crunch </p><p> Touch Gets messy </p><p> Cheesy fingers, fingers get red Lick em, suck em Gets all over you A lot on your fingers means youve eaten a lot of Cheetos.</p></li><li><p>Eating Cheetos: Total Sensory experience</p><p> Demands full absorption of self in the moment Creates an experiential world, right now activity </p><p> Not a food you simply graze (e.g. chips) Brings heightened awareness of self </p><p> E.g., dont eat Cheetos while doing homework but afterwards when relaxing </p><p> Intensity of being in the moment Authentic self A moment apart from the everyday routine</p></li><li><p>Safe Danger: Power of Cheetos to Tweens</p><p> Cheetos plays with boundaries through extremes -- (tastes, shapes, aromas, sounds) Its not a neat, in-the-box type of snack but is loud, messy, odorous, irregularly shaped, </p><p>textured This is attractive to kids, making it potentially </p><p>dangerous (in a safe way) Danger (matter out of place) is power to kids At least, kids think this, apart from mom</p></li><li><p>Chester as Tween Icon</p><p> Chester is not just aspirational image or badge </p><p> But extension of their selves Same as us </p><p> He likes Cheetos, just like we do He does what we do </p><p> Rides bikes, skateboards, plays basketball, etc. </p><p> Can imagine him interacting with friends, self </p><p> Hed jump on top of the school building and say watch this.</p></li><li><p>Chester as Tween Icon</p><p> Shares their values, extremes, and behavior Cool because hes Crazy/Wacky </p><p> E.g., does skydiving and other Xtreme sports Funny </p><p> The way he talks and acts on ads Ads with ice sculptures and he melts them with </p><p>hot Cheetos breath</p></li><li><p>Chester as Tween Icon</p><p> Imaginative Always invents a new flavor </p><p> Active, on-the-go Always doing something new, like changing </p><p>tongue color to green or purple Authentic, genuine </p><p> Always acts who he is High recall of Chester ads </p><p> Enjoyment of humor Topic of discussion among friends</p></li><li><p>Chester as Tween Icon</p><p> Moms like Chester too Cute character Age appropriate Appealing personality </p><p> Not your average animated character Funny Active Mingles with humans </p><p> Recognize that kids identify with him Hes like the friend every kid wants to have in his </p><p>group</p></li><li><p>Why Moms like Cheetos</p><p> View Cheetos as a good snack Potentially healthy </p><p> Has ingredients they want their kids to eat </p><p> Cheese Corn Complements milk or juice for good </p><p>snack </p><p> Satisfying Kids enjoyment of snack + ability to </p><p>fill you up Other snacks (especially sweet </p><p>ones) dont fill up kids, so not satisfying (for moms) </p><p> Feel less guilty than serving other snacks</p></li><li><p>Why Moms like Cheetos</p><p> View sugar as bad element Snacks with sugar are not valid </p><p>choices for moms Worry about leaving kids </p><p>hyperactive Worry about their teeth </p><p> Sweets are not as substantial as snacks </p><p> Not filling like corn puffs, other snacks </p><p> An empty snack that leaves you hungry again in 10 minutes</p></li><li><p>Why Moms like Cheetos</p><p> For Moms, its all about pleasing their kids Buy what tweens want, what they will eat </p><p> Tweens shop with Mom or put specific snacks on shopping list </p><p> Stock a variety of snack items kids enjoy Fruit, yogurt, string cheese, peanut butter crackers </p><p> Cheetos shopping patterns vary by Mom Some load up every week (3 bags) at supermarket Others go to a club store, get a big box that lasts a </p><p>week Others buy a 48 variety pack every week</p></li><li><p>Why Moms like Cheetos</p><p> Reward for Mom Giving pleasure </p><p> The kids are gonna be happy when I get home. </p><p> Satisfaction of watching the enjoyment Im glad theyre happy. </p><p> Pleasure tied to their own enjoyment Memories of eating Cheetos since </p><p>childhood My Mom used to pack tuna fish </p><p>sandwiches with Cheetos in the middle. </p><p> Sense of universal enjoyment: everybody loves Cheetos </p><p> Variety of Cheetos flavors allows individuation </p><p> Everyone can have their favorite</p></li><li><p>Video Ethnography of Tweens and Gatekeepers</p></li><li><p>Summary</p><p> Snack is individuation activity, not just food To be played with, not eaten </p><p> No rules its me and my bag of Cheetos </p><p> Play fosters active imagination Dimensionalizing who you are though product </p><p> Adventure in every bag Dont know what to expect </p><p> Sensory experience plays out for kids Messy, loud, colorful, textural, odorous, = extending </p><p>boundaries to self, safe play with danger</p></li><li><p>Summary</p><p> In snack world, Sugar is the villain Strong role for Cheetos </p><p> Substantial is key word in consumer lexicon Filling, satisfying, guilt free </p><p> Not sugar Bad for teeth, hyperactivity </p><p> An air of Healthy Cheese, corn </p><p> Mom becomes hero Cheetos is the right snack Kids are always satisfied Fun food they enjoy</p></li><li><p>Implications</p><p>1. Keep Chester edgy Chester is loved for doing slightly crazy things Appealing to tweens in their ambiguous state </p><p> Early adolescence, separating from parents, attaching to friends </p><p>2. Incorporate change as product benefit Boredom comes quickly to tweens Continue to invent new Cheetos flavors Continue to use new advertising material But retain Chesters character tweens identify </p><p>with Chester as authentic character</p></li><li><p>Implications</p><p>3. Play on early adolescent identity theme, different but same </p><p> Chester continuing to do typical tween things Sameness is important to tweens Safe to be like others when in the process of </p><p>individuation 4. Incorporate total sensory experience of </p><p>Cheetos Chesters adventures in eating Cheetos Challenges, surprises, like eating Cheetos </p><p> Never know whats next</p></li><li><p>Implications</p><p>5. Develop specific messages for gatekeepers Reinforce mom as hero Cheetos: A satisfying snack </p><p> Key word: satisfying, substantial, aura of healthy Not sugar, which is viewed as unsubstantial, unhealthy Doing a good job, feels good about her role, as kids are </p><p>happy, satisfied Cheetos is the right choice </p><p> In pantheon of snack options, its not Cheetos vs. other salty snacks (which is limiting) </p><p> Its Cheetos among entire macro-snack category</p></li></ul>