Every so often, a commercial comes along to remind you why the rest of society hates ad copywriters and advertising executives. Such a commercial rolled onto TV screens this week, featuring The Lorax--the titular hero of Dr. Seuss's beloved environmental parable and star of a new feature film out next week--shilling for the Mazda CX-5, which the automaker deigns the "Truffula Tree-certified" sport utility vehicle. Not a hybrid or a hydrogen vehicle, mind you, but a standard fuel-injected sport utility vehicle. While the ad campaign touts the vehicle's mileage as a boon to an environment, everyone from environmental advocates to Seuss aficionados are crying foul over this bizarre and misguided appropriation of the book.
That's right, folks; it has to be the most tone-deaf ad campaign at least since Dr. Pepper's recent sexist and bone-headed "It's Not For Women" campaign, and going back before that you would probably be hard-pressed to think of one that came close. Mother Jones calls the ad campaign an "atrocity" and Jason Bittel of the Fitting Group, a branding organization unconnected to the Mazda campaign, has crafted his own darkly hilarious take on the controversy which says, in part:
"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?"
Mazda executives--if you see a group of angry villagers waving pitchforks and wearing comically tall stovepipe hats, I'd head for the hills.