Disney pulls the plug on fat-food promotion.

Starting in 2008, when current contracts expire, Disney will no longer let its characters be used as shills for junk food. It’s a good idea, in theory,and the right thing to do– but they should have gone further– as the article states, they have said nothing about the pervasive marketing of junk food on their channels. If Disney wants to be a corporate leader for good, they should, you know, lead!

This in from the Wall Street Journal:

Disney Pulls Its Characters From Junk Food

Move Sets Limits on Fats, Sugar
And Calories in Product Tie-Ins;
Getting a Pass on Birthday Cakes
October 17, 2006; Page D1

Seeking to promote more healthful eating habits among children, Mickey Mouse and his Walt Disney Co. friends are changing their diets.

Disney announced a companywide initiative to phase out the promotion of unhealthful foods to kids and eliminate artery-clogging trans fats from its theme-park menus and its licensed and promotional products. The Burbank, Calif., entertainment company said its characters and brands will be used only on child-focused products that meet certain guidelines in terms of calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar.

“A company such as ours, with the reach we have, has a responsibility because of how much we can influence people’s opinions and behavior,” says Disney CEO Robert Iger. He adds: “There’s also a business opportunity here.”

While the plan is the most extensive yet by a media company to address concerns over marketing to children, it stops short of tackling the thorny subject of food makers advertising unhealthful products directly to kids on Disney media outlets. Disney doesn’t run advertising on the Disney Channel but does carry sponsor messages, which will be covered by the new guidelines. Disney does carry advertising on its kids’ programming block on the ABC television network and its Toon Disney cable channel.