Online petition asks Mazda to remove Lorax ad campaign due to its 'crass commercialization'
Rethinking the Automobile has called upon Mazda to remove their new ad campaign, which features the new movie Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. The group claims that the new ads for the Mazda CX-5 SUV are “offensive” and run counterintuitive to the true message of Dr. Seuss' original book. Rethinking the Automobile, which is a project of OpenPlans, argues that the marketing campaign is a “crass commercialization” of The Lorax and is misleading to children.
The group was so offended by Mazda’s alleged exploitation of the book that it began circulating an online petition on Tuesday. The petition is presented as being written by the Zozo, a creature that believes in "smart transportation solutions including walking, biking, and transit so that kids can grow up in a world with safe, healthy, livable, walkable communities.” Created by the Jim Henson Company, the Zozo was designed to educate children on the dangers facing the environment.
The petition reads in part:
“In these advertisements Mazda and Universal claim that a new automobile is “Certified Truffula Tree Friendly” and imply an endorsement of their product by the cherished title character of The Lorax. By airing these advertisements, Mazda and Universal have shamelessly turned a character who has inspired millions of children to care about their environment into a car salesman. Cars--even ones that pollute a little less--are neither kid-friendly nor good for the environment.”
At the end of the petition, the ZoZo calls upon Mazda and Universal (distributor of The Lorax), to remove all advertising that associates with The Lorax from “all forms of media: print, television, radio, movie trailers, the internet, merchandising, etc.”
It seems that many YouTube viewers agree with Rethinking Auto in the anti-Mazda sentiment. Mazda’s commercial called “Truffula Tree Certified - Mazda CX-5 and Dr. Seuss' The Lorax,” has been viewed over 72,000 times on YouTube and has earned just 97 likes versus 831 dislikes.
Mazda originally launched its partnership with the film because the all-new CX-5 SUV features the fuel-efficient SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY, which Mazda hoped would correspond with the environmental message of The Lorax. In the film, the title character is a protector of the forest. Despite Mazda’s intention, the automaker appears to have gone slightly overboard stating that “Mazda cares an awful lot” and that their Skyactiv technology “has received the certified Truffula Tree seal of approval.”
Despite the backlash against Mazda, the automaker has created one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs on the market with the 2013 CX-5. The all-new SUV gets an estimated 33-mpg highway and 26-mpg city with the manual transmission and 32-mpg highway/25-mpg city with the automatic transmission. Fuel economy slips just slightly with the all-wheel drive version to 25/30 mpg.
Rethinking the Automobile was created by Mark Groton, with the intention of raising awareness of the damaging impact that automobiles have on the earth. The group utilizes public events and media campaigns (such as this petition) to demonstrate how prioritizing the automobile is hazardous to an unsustainable world.