The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has targeted Nickelodeon and parent company Viacom, Inc. with a full-page “wanted” ad in the March 14, 2013, issue of The Hollywood Reporter, featuring mug shots of an unshaven and disheveled SpongeBob SquarePants, whom the ad warns “should be approached with caution as he may be armed with nutritionally dangerous foods.” The ad contends that Nickelodeon is “wanted” for impersonating a responsible media company, while it actually markets junk food and obesity to children.

According to CSPI, “Unlike Disney and Ion Media’s Qubo, Nickelodeon has yet to set nutrition standards for which foods it will advertise to young children through television, its websites, apps, and other media. Nickelodeon, NickToons, and Nick Jr. recently have advertised unhealthy products such as Cocoa Puffs, Air Heads candies, Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants, and Fruit Roll-Ups.” CSPI further states, “[t]he SpongeBob SquarePants bar is made from water, several forms of sugar, and a long list of preservatives, artificial food dyes, and other additives.” See CSPI New Release, March 13, 2013.