Universal Studios will release its animated rendition of the children's book The Lorax on March 2 (that date is book author Dr. Seuss' birthday).
Yet Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, whose book's message spells out the consequences of unchecked consumerism, might hate that The Lorax is already being used to sell more stuff, namely the Mazda CX-5 car.
At blog site Teenskepchick, Katie Kish said in her post on the video ad that features the Lorax and other animals happily frolicking as a Mazda zooms by their supposed habitat:
"How quickly Mazda hopes we’ll forget that it was this kind of nonsense that is the EXACT OPPOSITE moral of The Lorax story. It’s almost unbelievable, isn’t it? If someone told me this was an article from the Onion I’d easily believe it."
Teenskepchick isn't the only one that noticed that Universal's film interpretation of The Lorax might be lighter on environmental message than the book's author intended, and more about making cute animated characters that will sell theater tickets and tie-in merchandise.
Mr. Ted Wells' fourth-grade class in Brookline, Mass. had read The Lorax as an assignment, and they looked at the movie web site eagerly. The fourth graders were surprised that the movie's web site contained no environmental message whatsoever. They started a petition at Change.org to get Universal to beef up the environmental content at the site.
“The website is more about making money than helping the planet, and that’s exactly what the book says not to do,” fourth-grader Georgia, who is 10, told Change.org.
More than 57,000 people signed the class's Change.org petition, and Universal changed its site. Taking the class's suggestion, Universal added a button that leads to environmental tips, and another link that leads to curriculum suggestions for incorporating environmental education into a study of The Lorax.
It's not the first time, nor the last, that the Lorax is appropriated to sell something, I'm sure.
But what about Mazda? Shouldn't they also pull their ad, or at least explain what 'Truffula Tree' seal of approval actually means?