Blog Post #12: “Shrek” Scandal: Risque Fashion Shoot with Shrek Characters

When fashion and animation meet, they do not always go well together. This post will be talking about the recent fashion spread appearing in a risque men’s magazine that Dreamworks allowed to feature Shrek characters alongside scantily clad models. There is controversy over the Shrek characters being used in such a way when they are supposed to be wholesome kid’s characters.

The fourth “Shrek” film: “Shrek: Forever After” comes out May 21, 2010. It is the final chapter of the “Shrek” films. In anticipation of the movie’s release, Dreamworks allowed for the characters to be in a fashion shoot where they were posed alongside models. The magazine is called, “VMAN” which is a popular men’s magazine and the model, Emma Dumont, is the winner of the V Model/Ford Models contest.

The shoot was styled by Lady Gaga’s stylist Nicola Formichetti and shot by Ellen von Uwerth. I think many people before even seeing pictures can begin to worry once they hear that Lady Gaga’s stylist was the one who was in charge of the look for the shoot. Dreamworks at first thought this would be a good idea to advertise the final chapter of “Shrek” to their more adult audience. Although now, they are beginning to regret their decision even before the magazine hits the stands on April 20th.

Below you can see for yourself the fashion shoot that is very racy. “Shrek” is supposed to be both for adults and kids. “Shrek” definitely features many adult humor jokes but it was never risqué enough to show as much as these pictures do. In one picture, Donkey is next to a model in lingerie on a bed with a man looking on in the background that has no shirt on. I found the Gingerbread man holding the lollipop for the model and the Puss being fed grapes humorous but they are way too suggestive for characters that are supposed to be okay for younger kids.

I usually am a fan of when animation and fashion collide. As I have talked about before with Disney wedding gowns and with the Alice in Wonderland inspired fashions. These were tasteful and artistically inspired by the Disney films. This “Shrek” spread is not very artistic in my opinion. I think it is a last ditch effort to get the movie in the press and grab attention. I just wonder if kids will see the “Shrek” pictures on the cover of the magazine and pull it off the shelf to look at it and then their parents are stuck with their kids seeing something they should not be.

I think that they could have done a fashion shoot that was way more tasteful and that was friendlier to kids but also pleasing to adults. I want to know what you guys think. Should they have done something more creative and tasteful or do you find this an appropriate way to advertise the final “Shrek” movie?

Source for pictures.

I responded to Ian Crawford and Katherine Danoy.

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6 thoughts on “Blog Post #12: “Shrek” Scandal: Risque Fashion Shoot with Shrek Characters

  1. Very interesting post! I’m excited because I had no idea another Shrek movie was coming out. Before I even began reading your blog these photos caught my attention. I’m in 100% agreement with you – this wasn’t tasteful. I get that Shrek is also marketed towards adults but they’ve always managed to do so tastefully in the past and had continued success….so why switch things up now? To me, this is not going out on a high note marketing wise. I hope the film isn’t a disappointment. I get the whole concept of the animation colliding with fashion but honestly…I don’t see a collision. I see a catastrophe – the two did not blend well together and it leaves me feeling somewhat confused. I think Dreamworks is going to regret this decision.

  2. Bonnie, I think a lot of animated films are made just as much for children as they are for adults. After all, adults are the one’s making the films, spending money on the toys generated from the films and taking their children to the movies to see the films. Often times animators include themes and jokes that only adults would understand to make animated films appealing and interesting to adults. Although the scantly clad photo shoot could be viewed as inappropriate I think it depends on the intended audience. It is obvious that the promoters of the movie are using this shoot to appeal to older more mature viewers. I personally don’t find the ads inappropriate because it is promoting the film to adults and not children. Assuming that this is not the type of magazine children subscribe to I see nothing wrong with the ad; its all about appealing to a particular demographic.

  3. The post above me caught the exact element that needs to be noted: intended demographic. It’s the same debate that people have over how terrible adult cartoons like South Park and Family Guy are for children. The point is that they are not aimed at children, so it’s up to parental discretion (or lack thereof) to decide what to let their children watch (or find out what they’re watching). Even if the claim is that these pictures are suggestive and include animated children’s characters, I still don’t think Dreamworks should be ashamed. The films themselves contain more suggestive themes than this. Plus, if the threat of children eying this magazine is a worry, I would be more worried about the other content in this magazine, since this shoot is very tame. I have a little sister and would have no problem letting her see these pictures. There’s nothing on those pages she hasn’t seen and the sexual implications we carry with these images wouldn’t be shared by a small child. Good catch on this photo shoot and thanks for the interesting post!

  4. I am a little torn between if I support or dont support the risque photos. I have blogged in the past of how the Shrek is more targeted to adults then anything. First, I feel the whole ads are silly and such can cater to adult or a child. But the few that do have lingerie models are over the top in which the audience they are targeting. I will say they did their job successfully in which I will forever remember the gingerbread man and the puss photos. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I don’t think the photos are harmful. They aren’t particular offensive or sexual, of course sexually is implied, but it isn’t blatant enough to be unacceptable to a child. If I saw this when I was a kid, I would’ve just thought it was ‘high fashion’, ‘artsy’, random, or quirky. It would’ve just gone right over my head, just like a lot of the jokes in the Shrek movies themselves would.

  6. I actually read something about this a week or so ago and I’m glad you brought this up. I read that Dreamworks didn’t know the magazine was going to be that adult-themed. I read they gave them the rights to do so without seeing the final pictures, or something along those lines. However, I think they may have known about it and are just saying that to cover themselves. I find it interesting that they decided to do this in the first place. Considering the fact that the Shrek franchise is already big and well advertised. They probably didn’t even need to do this at all. I think they didn’t think this one through. Personally, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t think the pictures are revealing at all and if children see them, I don’t think they are going to make a big deal out of it. Overall, I like how you brought this up for discussion.

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