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:

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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