Part of Morgan Spurlock's beef with McDonald's in his anti-fast-food documentary Super Size Me is that even with health experts warning about the increasing problem of obesity among the youngest children, McDonald's deliberately targets children with on-site playgrounds, “Happy Meals,” toy collectibles and its instantly recognizable clown mascot.
On a similar note, consider the marketing of non-kid-friendly films such as Shrek 2 to children. As a critic, I visit the theater many more times a year than I ever set foot in a supermarket, so I'm not the most marketing-savvy individual when it comes to which films are being pushed on the lunch-box set. Still, I have it on good authority that, with the release of Shrek 2, supermarket aisles are bursting with Shrek cereal, fruit snacks, yogurt, cookies, comic books, plush toys and so on.
As one who's been beating the “cartoons aren't necessarily for children” drum for years, I find this disheartening, not to say irresponsible. No kid young enough to eat movie-character cookies needs to see a film that announces that Pinocchio is wearing a ladies thong.
Shrek 2 is far from a perfect movie, but it's a perfect example of a movie that shouldn't be inappropriately targeted for kids. Not everyone in Hollywood is evil. But I bet a disproportionate number of those who are work in marketing.