The Lorax: Blowing Smogulous Smoke

Fans of The Lorax have raised concerns that the new big-screen version is neglecting the environmental message of the beloved Dr. Seuss book. The movie doesn’t come out until March 2, but the initial trailer and promotional materials ignited a round of complaints on the web.

Now people are having a (rather justified) heart attack about the fact that The Lorax is now being used to cross-promote a new SUV. Earlier this week, Mazda announced that it has partnered with Universal Pictures to promote the new “‘Seuss-ifed’ 2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV.” The cross-promotion includes commercials with a cartoon version of the car driving through a valley of Truffula trees. The ads claim that the car is “Truffula tree friendly” –whatever that’s supposed to mean, given that the car is a standard fuel-injection-engine SUV. Sure, it’s apparently better than other SUVs on the market. But not that good.

Here’s the ad:

Branding professional Jason Bittel was apparently so inspired by this atrocity that he wrote his own Seuss-tastic poem:

A Lorax-branded combustion engine? I mean, seriously?
Not a hydrogen? Not an electric?
Not even a Thneed-sponsored cross-breed?

Whoever is in charge of branding
For the Lorax’s mula-making machine –
Have you read the book you’re hijacking?
Did you misinterpret what it means?

Update: Then there’s these “Lorax-approved” disposable diapers. Because, you know, there’s nothing that says “we speak for the trees” like the 3.6 million tons of nappies (2 percent of total municipal waste!) that Americans throw away every year.

Update #2: That’s not all. According to AP, the film has nearly 70 “launch partners.” The list includes Whole Foods, Pottery Barn Kids, Stonyfield Farm, HP (“Print Like the Lorax”), Doubletree Hotels (Costa Rica “eco-travel” giveaway), and the EPA’s EnergyStar program. And don’t forget IHOP, which is featuring Lorax-themed dishes because “Planting trees can make you hungry!” Among the eco-friendly offerings:

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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