EnvironmentMedia Skepticism

The Lorax Sells Cars

I was a little apprehensive about The Lorax coming to the big screen. I knew it would come with a slew of toys, figurines and other plastic, made-in-China, throwaway paraphernalia. I was not, however, prepared for it to be used by a car company to sell cars as being “Truffala Tree Approved”.

The advertisement shows various Mazda cars zooming through the Truffala forests (on the roads built by the Once-ler, no doubt!) and all the animals are totally into it and approving… Despite their well known demise from smog, pollution and deforestation. 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. How sad that reality is just as ridiculous as what we make fun of. I mean you watch the preview for the movie and the kid in it doesn’t even know what a tree is… Mazda doesn’t think their cars and roads and parking lots are contributing to this problem in real life?? Here is the ad:

This ad REALLY bothers me. As I already stated the moral of the book is to consider environmental degradation and the way in which our endless consumption affects the things around us. This includes buying cars and overly green-washed crap. This feels like Mazda is slapping me across the face saying “Ha! You thought you could make a difference in this world? Well the very book that inspired you at such a young age to be an environmentalist is now being used to sell the lifestyle that is the biggest part of the problem! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” … And what SHOULD be insulting to EVERYONE is that they think we’re stupid enough to swallow this (and I know – most likely will…)

And I’ve already heard some people saying…”Oh, but they are environmentally friendly cars!” … …. ….. Car culture in general is part of the larger problems. Also – most of these new “environmental cars” are not as environmentally friendly as one would think and also need new materials to be built. What are happening to the old cars? I don’t know a ton about cars, but I feel like retrofitting old ones would be better for the environment (yes, I know… but not for the economy). My point here is that car culture is based around suburban sprawl and everyone needing to have what their neighbour has (keeping up with the Joneses, as they say). A real environmental move wouldn’t be to opt into the car culture by buying a nice shiny Mazda endorsed by the Barbaloot Bears it would be to buy a mother f*cking bike.

Also, one of the cars is this big SUV looking car… again, I’m not a car expert, so I’m not sure that it is in the right class to *actually* be called an SUV – but the point is that it’s huge. What does THIS represent? Well – this represents the need for BIGGER and better. To have a nice BIG family that can take nice BIG vacations that require nice BIG trunks.

Finally – it really honestly bothers me how the makers of this advertisement have absolutely zero qualms in using the innocent and meaningful lessons of our youth to promote their crap and make a buck. Where amazing stories like The Lorax with really important messages are taken to sell products that directly contribute to the problem in one of the biggest ways… is not a world I want to live in. It’s a world I want to change – and I hope you do too. This message, the pure irony and sadness of it, should outrage you… I hope it does. I hope this ad reminds you to remain critical of advertising and to not get sucked in by the ways in which the crappy people of this world will use really awesome stories to further their economic agenda.

My next Suspension of Disbelief was going to be on The Lorax. …I have ultimately decided not to go and see it – and to never EVER buy a Mazda. Shame… I liked the Zoom Zoom kid.

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Katie is a graduate student from Canada studying the environment and systems theory. She also loves dinosaurs and baking cupcakes. Follow her on twitter @katiekish


  1. February 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm —

    Welcome to the world of co-option!

  2. February 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm —

    “A real environmental move wouldn’t be to opt into the car culture by buying a nice shiny Mazda endorsed by the Barbaloot Bears it would be to buy a mother f*cking bike.”

    *Fantastic* post.

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