SpongeBob SquarePants sued for being deceptive and unfair

SpongeBob SquarePants and Kellogg (think cereal) are being sued by the “Center for Sciences in the Public Interest” who believe that the advertising campaign using SpongeBob is deceiving little children who may not understand they’re viewing a commercial and tricked into eating “unhealthy food.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Boston-based group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and two parents served notice that they intended to sue Viacom, the maker of the popular children’s TV show “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and the Kellogg Company, a big marketer of food to children, which features the lovable SpongeBob on packages of cereal, Pop Tarts and cookies.

At a news conference in Washington yesterday, the groups argued that using cartoon characters to sell to children is deceptive and unfair.

“It’s unfair because kids under 5 don’t even know it’s a commercial,” said Stephen Gardner, director of litigation for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “They think it’s a very short SpongeBob program. And it’s unfair because at a very important time in their physical and psychological development, kids are being encouraged to eat food that is just not good for them.”

While this story has nothing to do with print cartoonist (whom this blog is targeting), I thought there were enough cartoonists who’s work does get licenced and used to promote products that it is relevant.