February 1, 2007

There is at least one celebrity against obesity

Just after I posted my latest entry, Star Wars: Anorexia vs obesity; thin beats fat, Thursday, I sat down to read the Wall Street Journal. And right there on page D7, is the headline, "Shek, a Massive Beast, Stars In Campaign Against Obesity". For a change, the government is thinking like me. That's scary.

So to make sure I give credit where credit is due here's the news release:
Shrek Flip-flops in Obesity Fight
Animated Ogre Who Shilled for Sugary Cereal Will Serve as Spokesman for Healthy Living

By Ira Teinowitz

Published: January 30, 2007

WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- Shrek is switching sides in the kids' obesity fight.

None other than DreamWorks Animation's green ogre -- whose promotional efforts for a sugary General Mills cereal named in his honor were pummeled by Sen. Tom Harkin ("We got rid of Joe Camel. We've got to get rid of Shrek," the Iowa Democrat said in a press conference) -- is becoming a spokesman for good health.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Ad Council are hosting a press conference Thursday to announce that Shrek will be a featured addition to their Small Step obesity-prevention campaign, which encourages children and families to lead healthy lifestyles. PSAs from GSD&M, Austin, Texas, are expected to feature Shrek and his sidekicks, including the donkey voiced by Eddie Murphy in the films. (Shrek is voiced by comedian Mike Myers.)

Other Shrek promotions

The switch comes as McDonald's and Mars ready promotions tied to the May release of "Shrek 3." Mars will offer a Snickers candy bar featuring green "Shrek filling" and "ogre-sized" peanut-butter M&M's. McDonald's in July 2005 announced a two-year marketing and promotional relationship with DreamWorks that begins with the new movie. McDonald's has said it will use Shrek to promote more-healthful offerings such as Apple Dippers.

Growing controversy over the marketing of unhealthful food products to kids prompted the Walt Disney Co. in October to announce it would rein in its licensing efforts, including those of DreamWorks rival Pixar.

Disney unveiled new licensing guidelines that limit most of its characters to foods low in total fat, saturated fat and sugar. Disney also moved to make fast food in its parks more healthful.

Small Step campaign

The Ad Council's Small Step public-service campaign began in 2003 and focuses on fitness, nutrition and disease prevention. The first ads from Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson were aimed at adults; a second "Can your foods do that?" campaign aimed at kids launched late in 2005.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, DreamWorks Chairman Roger Enrico and Ad Council President-CEO Peggy Conlon will unveil the Shrek ads in Washington, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.


GMS said...

Just the other day I saw a show on Discovery called, "I eat 36,000 calories a day" about some grotesquely fat people who "just can't stop". One woman chowed down 36 cookies during the interview.

I've been watching portions for about a month and now when I go to a restaurant I can't believe how large everything is. No wonder so many people are fat!

Portion Power said...

When all you see are large portions, big plates, supersized meals, a whole loaf of bread, giant desserts, then your mindset of what is "normal" gets skewed.

I spent a little time in Europe and India recently, and I can tell you that everything from the containers of yogurt to the portions of pasta are smaller (and tastier), than what you find here in the good ole US of A. I don't want to live there, but I do want the restaurants over here to change (for the better).

Anonymous said...

Do you not find it the least bit offensive that Shrek will be telling your kids to eat healthier, while at the same time he will be hawking products for McDonald's, Pepsi and M&Ms -- all companies who have negotiated tie-ins with Shrek 3?

What kind of message does that send to kids?

Portion Power said...

Absolutely, it is offensive. I figure Shrek must have gone into Hollywood rehab, and changed his ways.

Seriously, doesn't this situation epitomize the food/diet/obesity world. What's good was bad. What's highly caloric (olive oil, avocado, etc.) is very good for you. Reading Unhappy Meals, you realize that even nutritionists (whom I thought were unbias scientists)have an axe to grind.

Can only people (or characters) who have never "abused" food be spokespeople? It's a good question.

Instead of Shrek telling our children to exercise, maybe he should tell them to eat a lot less M&Ms and McDonald's. And maybe even better he should tell McDonald's to eliminate those horrible portions.

Your comments are thought provoking.