Around the age of seven to eight a major neurological development takes place in the brains of children, and a new way of understanding the world is born: Nuance.
After this point kids realise that the world is more complex than good or bad, right or wrong, and they see that people can say one thing and mean something else; or appear to be a villain but underneath be a hero. Kids test out ‘rebellion’ behaviour to find their place in the world around them, they develop a keen interest in fantasy worlds and discovery, and they are highly influenced by TV, video games and by what their peers think is cool.
This means that simple, one-dimensional characters become redundant overnight, and are now seen as very childish. Characters appealing to 7-10 year olds have more complex personalities, look and behave a bit more ‘on the edge’, but ultimately still play out the familiar storylines of challenge/obstacle/ struggle/resolution.
The switch is clearly visible in product categories where a formula change coincides with this shift in understanding, as these French toothpaste packs demonstrate.