Instead of turning kids’ tongues green with dye, additives and processed Shrek Drek (sanctioned as a green dot “Smart Choice” by PepsiCo’s self-awarded labeling system since they’re BAKED Cheetos instead of Flaming Hot extra toxic ones) imagine if we used Shrek to shift the appeal toward healthier food?
What a fairytale, eh? Shaping Youth is testing some of these counter-marketing tactics this week by “going green” in a monster way, with three new Shrek Drek sessions of 60 kids in grades 2-5 at an arts & science fair tomorrow. (yes, “dreck” can be spelled either way folks, save your scoldings)
We’ll start with the usual ‘ewww’ factor of our Dare to Compare: Gross Out Game for Good Nutrition by dissecting the junk food being marketed to kids with cartoons and gimmicks, then simulate the outcomes (like our dried Shrek-green playdough stuck in an extruder to simulate hardened and clogged arteries from eating his gobs of junk food!)
I’ve always wondered what would happen if marketers used characters like Shrek ONLY on healthy or whole foods. What if the green guy hawked honeydew melon, green grapes, lime juice pops and granny smiths? (No, I’m not proposing produce be branded, as you can see by my Disney posting here. I’m suggesting “what if” marketers used their power for the positive ONLY…)
This humorous video from Jeepers Media shows COUNTLESS Shrek Drek food items, like Shrek’s green oozing Snickers bars and blurry photo-stamped waffles…So…we’re creating a counter-marketing “swamp” of ‘Shrekalicious’ food fun: Avocado-tomatillo verde with green broccoli trees for dipping, low-fat spinach dip (kept chilled by frozen green peas mixed in) green cucumber lily pads, green goddess dressing and organics, fresh limeade, you get the picture.
Then we’re adding a “user generated” component to the session, challenging kids to come up with ACTIVE products and healthy foods using the “what if you were in charge” brainstorming techniques that UGC media gleans for free market research and creative execution from children daily these days.
Hey, we’re a nonprofit, why not?
I’d love to get some ideas that ‘sell’ and hit the product pitchmeisters with the healthy angle. I still think cartoon branding on the good stuff ONLY would be an interesting experiment.
The creative director in me sees some obvious product tie-ins already: Shrek green tennis balls, ogre-sized pool splats, and gosh…those ears of his are just twitching to be turned into jump-rope handles if you ask me!
A quick click through Amazon shows 276+ Shrek products posted; almost all sedentary.
There’s an indoor bowling game, a few sports balls, and some mailer incentives in their marketing plan with serious irony…
A few of the green guy’s promos are forehead thumping headspinners for sure…Like the mail-in offer for the $6 Swamp Soccerball to work off the multi-packages of Keebler Rainbow Cookies, Fudge Stripes or Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Treats you have to snarf by the dozen in order to redeem the dang thing.
Flagged with “Put ogre power in your kick” the copywriter in me jumps to, “yeah, I’d like to kick some colleagues who created this mega-disconnect, and the corporate powers behind it.”
Tank kids up with sugary slop and sat fat, encourage multiple purchases by ‘earning Shrek tokens’ for each box purchased, then redeem them for a toy to work it off with?
Sheesh. It reminds me of the ad strategy with body image perfection, where self-esteem gets torn down then sold back to women one beauty product at a time…
There’s more of course…kids can get a “FREE” helmet hat (donkey ears or Shrek horns) with 3 boxes of PopTarts (12 per box @ $3/per and you’ve got 36 sugary pastries plopped in a kids’ belly which will ultimately cost the child a lot more than the $9 “free” hat!)
Or, gee, how about the ‘family friendly’ toys like “Out of Control Triplets” that reinforce chaos and obnoxiousness, or the Brain Buster Talking Shrek Head with sneakers stuffed up his nose (don’t try this at home, kiddies) Rampant consumerism and behavioral cues? Sigh. Different issue, I digress…
Shaping Youth is also creating a ‘pin the tail on the junk food’ game, (Shrek’s donkey pal comes in handy there) to counter-market Shrek Drek while flagging a few ‘passable’ offerings that are less toxic than the rest. (hint: his grinning mug on the Crispix or shredded wheat cereal doesn’t have as much sugar as most “candy bar in a bowl” breakfasts we’ve seen in our media mind-n-body logs lately)
Wish me luck tomorrow…we’ll let you know how it goes, and what kinds of ideas the kids come up with!
I’m also laying odds that not one of those kiddies has ordered Shrek/McDonalds’ apples OR milk. Those swap-outs are silliness when ALL toys come with the Shrek Drek…
It has to be offered ONLY with the healthy stuff to entice behavioral change…
Come now…Why on earth would McDonalds want to promote THAT?