Fast food giant McDonald's is to team with DreamWorks SKG's lovable green ogre, Shrek, in a two-year worldwide marketing deal.

As its ten year partnership with the Walt Disney Company draws to a close, Big M is following in the footsteps of rival Burger King, which signed up to a five-movie promotional deal with DreamWorks in 2001 [WAMN:04-Oct-01].

The latest pact allows McDonald's to support other entertainment or films, while giving it exclusive promotional access to new DreamWorks animated films, beginning with the Shrek 3 movie scheduled for release in 2007. No financial details of the deal have been released.

DreamWorks ceo Jeffrey Katzenberg said that under the agreement his company will create original animation for some McDonald's commercials. It will also support the 'balanced active lifestyles program', which the food company hopes will counter criticism of its 'unhealthy' menu options.

Susan Linn, psychologist at the Judge Baker Children's Center in Boston and author of the book 'Consuming Kids', is scathing about the McDonald's-DreamWorks deal.

"These cartoon characters are so powerful in kids' lives and to use them to sell things like fries and hamburgers is extremely manipulative. We have a major public health problem in childhood obesity," believes Linn.

McDonald's retorted that the partnership's ads and promotions will be targeted to all age groups, not just children. Opined spokesman Walt Riker: "The appeal of McDonald's and the appeal of DreamWorks is very broad."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff