Why on Dr. Seuss's truffula tree-covered earth is Mazda using a classic environmentalist tale to sell a sports utility vehicle?
People tend to bristle when companies toy around with the tokens of their childhood, especially if there's a hint of cynicism about it. So the blowback against Mazda's latest ad campaign shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to anybody. The Japanese car maker has teamed up with Universal Pictures to cross-promote their new compact crossover sport utility vehicle, the CX-5, with the movie studio's upcoming adaptation of The Lorax, Dr. Seuss' much beloved environmental ode for kids.
Yes, a car company is using The Lorax to hock its new gas-powered SUV. That's really the bottom line. They even claim it has the "only truffala tree seal of approval." As far as some are concerned, the top brass at Mazda and Universal might as well have gotten together at a corporate retreat, picked up a few hatchets, and chopped down some truffula trees by hand.*
But how shameless is this ad, really? It depends on how you view of
what's happening in the current car market, and whether or not it bodes
well for the environment.
Vehicles like the CX-5 present a sort of conundrum for the green movement. For starters, while it's technically marketed as an SUV, the model really has very little in common with the Chevy Suburbans and other large, gas thirsty predators that once roamed the highways. It's a crossover, meaning that while it looks a lot like an off-road ride, it's actually built on a car base instead of a truck base. It's also smaller. And while it runs on a traditional internal combustion engine, it uses relatively advanced technology like direct fuel injection that helps it get better gas mileage -- about 28 miles-per-gallon combined city and highway.