Environmentalists Seethe as the Lorax Speaks for Mazda

Movie tie-in with Seuss character is blasted as greenwashing

Would the Lorax ever love an SUV, even one with something called "revolutionary SkyActiv technology"? Environmentalists sure don't seem to think so. Bloggers and YouTube commenters are accusing Mazda of greenwashing with its new spot below, featuring the tree-loving Dr. Seuss character, now the star of a Universal Pictures film, alongside a Mazda CX-5 that gets 35 mpg on the highway. "Your attempt to associate your environmentally destructive product with The Lorax is deceptive and misleading," says the author of one Change.org petition, called "Stop forcing the Lorax to sell dangerous, polluting cars." And while YouTube is always awash in caustic critics, this clip has really brought out the hate. "Whoever thought this commercial was a good idea should definitely be fired," notes one commenter. "And advertisers wonder why people hate them so much," writes another. In fairness, the Mazda ad—created by ad agency Garage/Team Mazda—isn't the only aspect of Lorax commercialization that is sparking controversy. Students in a fourth-grade class gathered more than 57,000 signatures in successfully petitioning Universal to add an environmental message to the Lorax film site. With the movie opening this Friday, the studio is expected to announce a few environmental partnerships as well. To be safe, you might want to leave your SUV at home and take the kids to the multiplex on your six-seat tandem bicycle.