Will your child eat onions if Shrek’s face is on them?

I’m not absolutely sure this isn’t an April Fool’s joke, but since the press release is dated May 20th, well, let’s assume it’s for real. Apparently Dreamworks has worked out a huge number of cross promotional deals, including one with Vidalia onions. Do you ever wonder if they make these movies just to sell stuff? Hmmm..
Here’s the plan: In a first-of-its-kind entertainment promotion, the Vidalia Onion Committee promotes the original sweet onion in conjunction with the release of “Shrek Forever After.” The program includes extensive produce aisle consumer materials, an in-store radio drive, an online consumer contest, and a national print and radio campaign. The “Shrek Forever After, Vidalias Forever Sweet” Ogres & Onions campaign also features Shrek-tacular, kid-friendly Vidalia recipes and in-school messaging promoting healthy eating with Vidalia onions.
I was reading this press release, and was just about to pronounce this remedy: “Prepare for the onslaught now. Tell the kids right now that if it has Shrek on it, you’re not buying it.”
But then I thought, suppose we just play this out a little further. What if branded vegetables are a new trend, a response to the backlash against unhealthy food marketers? What do you do when everything in the produce aisle has a Little Mermaid sticker, or a Shrek face or maybe even Dora the Explorer. What do you say to the kids now? I’m not buying any of that cross promotional schlock, except for these bananas and the celery and carrots? Will they be confused, maybe think you’re a hypocrite? Is that the intention? Am I paranoid, or is this a well-thought out strategy?
Since the Disney label has shown up on apples already, it’s not so far fetched now, is it?
If you’d like to know what’s wrong with all the excessive marketing to children, start by reading this fact sheet.
If you want to see a beautiful painting of an onion by my friend Kimberley Becker, look here.

UPDATE: Apparently kids WILL eat onions if Shrek’s face is on them.


  1. Found you via Kelly's Lunchbox blog and wanted to share this counter-marketing post I did about same (Getting Kids to Eat Green, Using Shrek Against His Drek: http://www.shapingyouth.org/?p=475) as we're a nonprofit focusing on media and marketing's impact on kids. (huge, needless to say) One of my first posts when I started back in 2006 was about Disney branding fruit, called "Coaxing Kids with Cartoon Characters" asking 'what's next, piglet persimmons?' http://www.shapingyouth.org/?p=24It's a slippery slope indeed, especially when we're seeing anti-obesity/healthy eating campaigns like Let's Move infiltrated by junk food sponsors on the back end once again proving fiscal ties trump public health. (see Michele Simon's slam here: http://www.alternet.org/health/147064/sorry,_cheetos_aren%27t_nutritious which I need to deconstruct further) Pleasure to see more focus and like-mindedness surfacing here; and just wanted to take a sec to introduce myself, since it looks like many of my pals are on your blogroll 😉 Anytime you'd like to content swap let me know, as I can always use a hand! Onward!

  2. Thanks Amy of Shaping Youth for dropping by and providing some additional information. I was certainly surprised to hear about the branded fruit. Out of control!

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