The Lorax Wants You to Test Drive a Mazda

I had no high hopes for the movie version of Dr. Seuss’s Lorax, I had a feeling it would be a depressing dud and paid no real attention to the hoopla surrounding its release… Until I saw this on the internet: Stephen Colbert takes on the Lorax’s commercial tie-ins in this great rant from his show.

It’s just so bizarre I couldn’t believe it was true – I actually went online this morning to double-check that the Mazda/Lorax ad was real and not a spoof. Oh, I am so naïve to the bizarre ways of the world! Yes, of course the ad is real, not to mention surreal. The Lorax marketing team, spectacularly blind to the irony of it all, has indeed signed up 70 product tie-ins for the movie, most noteworthy among them an SUV. The little orange fellow who railed against Over-Consumption and Rampant Resource Extraction is suddenly blissed out over the fuel efficiency of the Mazda CX-5. The press releases trumpeted the fact that the commercial tie-ins were for eco-friendly products and green companies, though how far that goes I’m not sure.

Impostor! He doesn't even look like me!

This Mother Jones article by Kate Sheppard speaks to the concerns that many have with the Lorax marketing campaign.

And here’s a good Atlantic Monthly article by Jordan Weissmann about what the heck a ‘hybrid crossover SUV’ even is.  (Check out the embedded Mazda Lorax TV ad if you haven’t seen it.) The author also makes a good point about how testy we get when someone messes with our classic childhood heroes.

The whole situation, however, didn’t actually make me feel ill until I read this report from the Washington Post about Mazda taking its ad campaign right into schools. Using the desperation of underfunded schools as a crowbar to get their advertising message into the classroom is bad enough, but using Seuss-loving youngsters as shills for the automotive industry? We’ll give you money for books if you get your mommy and daddy to test drive a Mazda??

Oorg. Bad on so many levels.

Right at the end of the Mazda ad the Lorax prompts the narrator to plug his movie. Between the lines reading: “I flogged your car, now tell people to go to my movie!” I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine. Deee-pressing, not the least because an entire marketing team did not foresee any of this backfiring on them. Has the world gone mad?

POSTSCRIPT: The movie is in theatres today and I have no idea about its worth. Here’s a scathing review.

Here’s the Commonsense Media review – they rate this film suitable for age 5 and up.


Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss, and my Deepest Sympathy.


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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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