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We examine the relationship of product characteristics of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal and targeted television advertising to specific consumer segments. We compile a unique data set that includes brand-packaging characteristics, including on-box games, nutrition information, and cobranding. We find that the relationship of television advertising and a cereal's brand-packaging characteristics varies by target audience. Our results provide insight into understanding how manufacturers strategically utilize branding, packaging, and television advertising. This can help industry and policy makers develop food product advertising policy. This analysis extends to other product markets where extensive product differentiation and promotion are present as well.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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This research received support from the University of Connecticut's Food Marketing Policy Center and the Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy. We appreciate the help of Baxter Panola, Elena Castellari, Rui Huang, Hualu Zheng, and Chen Zhu on this project. We received useful comments from seminar participants at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, and the University of Georgia. All errors are solely the authors. This research was previously titled “Does Breakfast Cereal Advertising Target Young Children?”



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