This morning, my wife and I were getting ready to send out a birthday card, and we were having our children sign them as we usually do. My two-year-old daughter Ellie took her turn with the pen, and she scribble-scrabbled something on the card.

Afterwards, she dropped the pen on the table and said “I want french fries.”

Where did this come from?

My wife asked Ellie and she replied “McDonald’s has french fries and that’s McDonald’s” as she pointed to the card in which she had scribble-scrabbled a close facsimile to the logo of the ubiquitous American fast-food titan. I just had to take a picture and share, because it’s fascinating to me that McDonald’s has already imprinted their brand on my two-year-old’s brain.

There’s a common statistic thrown about in marketing that says the average American sees 3,000 advertising messages a day. So perhaps it’s no wonder that even very young children are able to identify with a brand such as McDonald’s so strongly.

In one study during the famous “Pepsi Challenge,” 67 people’s brains were scanned during a blind taste test comparing Pepsi and Coke. During the blind test, half the subjects chose Pepsi, and Pepsi generated a stronger response in the region of the brain thought to process feelings of reward.

But when the subjects were told which beverage was Coke, not only did three-fourths said that Coke tasted better, but the scans proved they were also using a different area of their brains—one thought to be tied to cognitive abilities and memory. This indicated that the consumers were thinking about Coke and relating it to memories and other impressions.

In other words, people overwhelmingly preferred Coke because of their positive associations with the brand, not the taste.

The quality of your product is important, sure, but is it as important as the strength of your brand?