Overweight Shrek Sends Mixed, Useless Message
> 4/27/2007 9:56:08 AM

To start, we'd like to tip our hat to the Department of Health and Human Services, just for making the effort. It's not easy for large government agencies to stay "hip," in fact, it's sort of against their very nature. But the problem is, the DOH's new ad featuring Shrek, isn't just a mildly irritating mess, it's also sending mixed messages about health to the same children it's trying to influence with its message of "Get up and play, an hour a day."

The problem is that in choosing Shrek and his cast of friends to serve as the spokesman for their new campaign, the DOH has tapped a character that's already shilling for the opposing team. According to the Chicago Tribune, who reported on the outrage on the part of activists and those who support the fight against obesity, Shrek and company already represent a number of products easily recognizable as unhealthy foods. They include Mars Inc.'s Snickers and M&M's candy; PepsiCo Inc.'s Sierra Mist drink; and Kellogg Co.'s Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its and Keebler cookies.

We can't really blame DOH, they're just trying their best. Unfortunately, in their attempt to win kids over to the idea of going outside to play, they've chosen a poor messenger. It wouldn't be such an egregious oversight if this was 2001 and Shrek was a cool new character, relatively unspoiled by associations to unhealthy foods. Instead, three films and six years later, he's a tired corporate spokesman who's advertised for seemingly every fast-food chain and breakfast cereal on the shelf. It's almost as if DOH chose the worst possible candidate they could find, perhaps because he came cheap or the studio thought it would be a great way to counteract all the quasi-negative publicity that comes with being associated with Pop-Tarts. Either way, DOH has failed and would do well to pull the commercials and sever ties with the obese, green monster before it's too late. This isn't just an "Oops, sorry" moment, this is a waste of tax dollars being put toward a public health campaign that has absolutely no value, and may in fact have a negative effect on children's eating habits. If they wanted to fight steroid use, we'd hope the government could find someone better than Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. We should expect someone (or something, we suppose) better in the fight against obesity.

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