Elmo wore a tie — and Rosita broke out the pearls — for their trip to the White House Wednesday.

They were there to meet with First Lady Michelle Obama and announce a new marketing program to promote fresh fruits and vegetables with Sesame Street and Muppet characters, designed to counter the marketing of less-healthy foods to young people.

Research has shown that most kids, when offered an apple or a cookie, pick the cookie, Obama said at the event. “I might do the same,” she said.

But when researchers put an Elmo sticker on the apple, the number of kids eating the apple doubled. “The power of Elmo was enough to get kids excited about eating a healthy snack,” Obama said.

“Just imagine what will happen when we take our kids to the grocery store and they see Sesame Street [and] Muppets all over the produce aisle,” she said. “Just imagine what its going to be like, moms and dads, when our kids are begging us to buy fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, candies and chips. It can happen!”

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