The playing field is described by the Food industry and adolescents overview. It consists of the food industry’s aim and means.
- The food industry aim
- Get adolescents to eat and drink products binge-like as an automated behavior on cue, either by internal cues [emotions or experiences are associated with a product so that the product is consumed when these emotions or experiences occur] or by external cues [product producer content that triggers consumption of the product].
- Food industry means
- [Marketing] Provide external cues and forge internal cues by means of immersing adolescents online in a branded environment, own and on social network sites, for longer periods of time by sending multimedia messages, personalized interactivity acting upon identified potential internal triggers, and providing one-on-one communication. These marketing techniques are supported by low youngster digital literacy.
- [Marketing] Provide variable rewards for reacting on external cues by means of social media interaction and gamification elements that evoke the production of dopamine in the brain’s reward center [nucleus accumbens] so that the effectiveness of the external trigger is reinforced.
- [Biology] Provide rewards following-up on the automated behavior that is triggered by the cues by means of adding ingredients to products that evoke the production of dopamine in the brain’s reward center [nucleus accumbens] so that the relation between cue and automated behavior is reinforced.
- [Biology] Disrupt the adolescent’s digestive equilibrium by adding ingredients that induce the automated behavior to occur more frequently.
AR game as antidote
The ANEMELO AR game is to be an antidote. It will need to follow Duhigg’s (2012) steps to change a habit:
- Step one is to identify the routine: “it’s the behavior you want to change”. The behavior the game addresses is the adolescent habit to eat and drink refined carbohydrates and fructose based products binge-like as an automated behavior.
- Step two is to experiment with rewards. “By experimenting with different rewards, you can isolate what you are actually craving, which is essential in redesigning the habit.” The game should expose the existing reward system mechanisms including personalization and allow players to experiment with different rewards.
- Step three: isolate the cue: “identify categories of behaviors ahead of time to scrutinize in order to see patterns.” Five possible categories need to be taken into account: location, time, emotional state, other people, and immediately preceding action. Obvious and less obvious external brand and product cues need to be exposed by the game, as well as potential internal cues (feelings of boredom, loneliness, frustration, confusion, and indecisiveness).
- The fourth step is to have a plan: “you can change to a better routine by planning for the cue and choosing a behavior that delivers the reward you are craving.” The game needs to provide starting-points for creating a plan like how to minimize exposure to triggers and how to decrease access to the routine.