Shrek Turns Over New Leaf in Kids Obesity Fight

Jan 30, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Shrek is switching sides in the kids obesity fight-at least temporarily.

DreamWorks Animation’s green ogre whose promotion of a sugary cereal named in its honor were repeatedly pummeled by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa — “We got rid of Joe Camel. We’ve got to get rid of Shrek,” Sen. Harkin said at one press conference — is now becoming a good health spokesman.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Ad Council have called a press conference on Thursday to say Shrek will be a featured addition to its Small Steps Obesity Prevention campaign which encourages children and families to lead healthy lifestyles. Public service announcements are expected to feature Shrek and other characters from the Shrek movies, including Donkey. Shrek is voiced by comedian Mike Myers. Donkey is voiced by Eddie Murphy in films.

The switch comes as McDonald’s and Mars ready to unveil promotions featuring Shrek that also promote the new Shrek movie, “Shrek 3.”

McDonald’s has said it would use Shrek to promote healthier offerings like Apple Dippers. Mars is to offer a Snickers candy bar featuring green “Shrek filling” and “ogre sized” peanut butter M&M’s.

Growing controversy over the marketing of unhealthy food products to kids prompted the Walt Disney Co. to announce in October that it was limiting its own licensing efforts, including those of DreamWorks rival Pixar to healthier foods. The change takes place as new contracts are signed.

(Editor: Gilbert)