Thursday, April 26, 2007

CCFC Launches Campaign Against Shrek

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has just launched a protest/campaign against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (in conjunction with Dreamworks and the Ad Council's Coalition for Healthy Children) plan to launch a "series of Shrek-themed public service announcements (PSAs) as part of HHS' "Small Step" Childhood Obesity Prevention campaign." The stated goal of the campaign is to use the overweight Shrek to encourage kids to exercise, but really this may just be a Dreamworks attempt to do some damage control around the enormous cross-promotional Shrekstravaganza that will be unfolding over the next couple of months...including a huge number of Shrek-endorsed unhealthy food ads targeted at kids. With all the current hoopla around kids and food advertising, the CCFC's objection to Shrek's strategy of appeasing parents and governments with its right hand, while peddling sugar cereals and Happy Meals to children with its left hand, is somewhat understandable. It not only makes the Department of Health initiative seem like a well-timed corporate image booster, but might also be kind of confusing to the kids being targeted. From the CCFC press release:

A review by CCFC found seventeen food promotions for the upcoming movie Shrek the Third featuring seventy-five different products, including McDonald's Happy Meals, Kellogg's Marshmallow Froot Loops cereal, Keebler E.L. FudgeDouble Stuffed cookies, "ogre-sized" Peanut Butter M&M's, Cheetos, and Kellogg's Frosted S'Mores Pop Tarts. Many of the promotions are targeted directly to preschoolers and children as young as two. The Institute of Medicine has recommended that the food industry stop using media characters to promote junk food to young children. Why would young children follow Shrek's advice about healthy living and ignore his entreaties to eat Happy Meals and Pop Tarts?

Check out the full list of Shrek-endorsed food promotions here...a pretty impressive assortment of sugar cereals, candy and junk food. Read more about the "Fire Shrek" campaign here.

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