WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- What gives, an advocacy group asks, with Shrek hawking sugary candies, cereals and snacks while promoting a U.S. government anti-obesity campaign.
The lumbering green-hued ogre -- who returns soon to the theaters in "Shrek The Third" -- is promoting candy, fast-food, soda, cereal and snacks as movie tie-ins. Shrek also was selected as the spokes-entity for an anti-obesity campaign by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The marketing oxymoron must go, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said, calling on the government to fire Shrek because he's promoting obesity-causing junk food while endorsing healthy eating choices, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
"Surely Health and Human Services can find a better spokesperson for healthy living than a character who is a walking advertisement for McDonald's, sugary cereals, cookies and candy," Susan Linn, the organization's director, wrote in a letter sent to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.
HHS spokesman Bill Hall defended the public service ads the popular character.
"Shrek is a very well-known character in the target population of this campaign," Hall said. "We have always promoted a balanced, healthy diet, which does not necessarily exclude the occasional treat."