It was probably just a matter of time. The imitated but never equaled Homer Simpson, whose branding potential is exceeded only by his waistline, has finally become the poster boy for weight loss. Just not here in the U.S. This week, Britain's Department of Health began sponsoring episodes of The Simpsons as part of a campaign it calls "Change4Life." Before the episodes air on the country's Channel 4, Change4Life's own animated characters, created by Aardman Animations and M&C Saatchi, are seen gorging on potato chips and ice cream that then magically morph into healthy snacks. The message is clear: If you don't want to look like this American bloke, you'd better eat right. U.K. public health minister Gillian Merron told Reuters this week that The Simpsons—family and show—are the ideal vehicle for conveying "simple ways of improving … diet and activity for a healthier lifestyle." In the U.S., Homer Simpson is no stranger to brand endorsements, though the ones he's approved are a lot more like ones that he'd, well, approve. Homer's grinning visage and capacious gut have appeared in spots for Burger King, Butterfinger, Domino's, Church's Chicken, KFC, T.G.I. Friday's and Domino's, among others. Something tell us it might be a while before U.S. audiences get to see him eating carrot sticks.
—Posted by Robert Klara