Shrek switched to McDonald’s

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. is breaking up with promotional partner Burger King Corp. to join forces with McDonald's Corp. for a two-year pact that begins in 2007 with "Shrek 3."

The new relationship is exclusive to DreamWorks but not to McDonald's, and does not preclude the fast-food giant from continuing its relationship with DreamWorks rival Walt Disney Co. after the companies' 10-year alliance expires in 2007, executives from McDonald's and DreamWorks said. DreamWorks will work with closely held Burger King until the McDonald's deal kicks in, Reuters reports.

In a conference call with journalists Wednesday, McDonald's and DreamWorks executives said that one example of the collaboration might be Shrek and Ronald McDonald appearing in commercials to sell McDonald's products. Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation, said that his company would produce original animation for some McDonald's commercials, according to New York Times.

McDonald's says that it will use Shrek and other DreamWorks characters to sell not only Happy Meals, but also its "balanced, active lifestyles program," which focuses on providing information on eating and exercise.

McDonald's thinks that its DreamWorks partnership will create ads and promotions that appeal to all age groups, not just to children. "The appeal of McDonald's and the appeal of DreamWorks is very broad," said Walt Riker, a spokesman for McDonald's. "It's families and it's adults," he was quoted as saying by New York Times.

Industry executives, including those from McDonald's, emphasized new, healthier offerings and their increased efforts to promote exercise. But critics said that food companies intentionally bombard children with slick and persuasive marketing for junk food.

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