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Fast-food companies are really missing out on the nighttime cartoon-watching market

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What a surprise: Late-night cartoon watchers love fast food.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Fast-food chains are trying really hard to win over more customers.

Taco Bell is getting rid of artificial ingredients (kind of, anyway). KFC is bringing back Colonel Sanders. McDonald’s has an entire turnaround plan and is trying everything from adding kale to its menu to putting the Hamburglar in skinny jeans.

But the real solution might be as simple as changing their commercial schedules, a new study from Nielsen suggests. Fast food companies, the market research firm found, spent only 4% of their advertising budgets on evening cartoons—even though adults watching nighttime cartoons are actually a perfect audience for commercials featuring Chalupas, Big Macs, and stuffed-crust pizzas.

Although the US cartoon-fast-food correlation is strongest for millennials, it crosses the generational divide. Two-thirds of millennials watching evening animation shows buy fast food, as do 44% of Baby Boomers, and 40% of people ages 65 and up.

Not only do cartoon-watching-adults make, over the course of a year, an average of seven more trips to fast-food restaurants than the average fast-food patron, they also spend 12% more. Instead of putting the Hamburglar in a new outfit, McDonald’s might do better if it just put his commercials on during South Park.

The photograph above was taken by feel-the-silence and shared under a Creative Commons license on Flickr. It has been cropped.

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