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Feb 27 2012

The Lorax used to sell SUVs

Via Badass Digest, easily some of the most cynical and tone-deaf marketing I’ve ever seen. Remember The Lorax? The Dr. Seuss classic with heavy environmentalist overtones? The story about how corporations will destroy the environment to make a buck and it’s entirely up to the reader to preserve said environment?

Well, Mazda apparently convinced the braintrusts behind the new movie to sell old Theodor Seuss Geisel’s soul post mortem.

I cannot imagine the estate of Dr. Seuss being cool with this. I’m certainly not. Way to take the mantle of the Once-ler, Mazda. Sure, an SUV is probably the most fuel-efficient way to transport six people, but seriously, what percentage of the time do you see an SUV that’s actually full?

Just… whargarbl.

41 comments

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  1. 1
    The Lorax

    I am the Lorax; I speak for the trees.
    Not for this Mazda, nor their SUVs.
    I guess for myself I must now speak, to wit:
    I am the Lorax; fuck that shit.

  2. 2
    Pliny the in Between

    I suppose it could have been worse. At least their slogan isn’t’ “Mazda’s SUV – the only vehicle you’ll ever Thneed.”

  3. 3
    starskeptic

    An SUV that gets 30mpg? – I’ll take one please…

  4. 4
    starskeptic

    …make that 35mpg!!! I’ll take two, please…

  5. 5
    Marie

    what the .everloving.eff.

  6. 6
    Jason Thibeault

    starskeptic: if that’s what’s got you all hot and bothered, keep in mind it’s not the best fuel economy available by a long shot

  7. 7
    starskeptic

    Jason – you’re talking apples and oranges…still, this SUV gets better mileage than some smaller cars – an effort that should be applauded.

  8. 8
    SallyStrange

    I am not into applauding SUVs getting barely-acceptable gas mileage simply because some cars exist that get absolutely-terrible gas mileage. SUVs really are Thneeds, things we really don’t need but think we do.

  9. 9
    starskeptic

    Sally – that’s called letting the perfect get in the way of the good(I’m paraphrasing). Also they’re not Thneeds to folks who really need them…

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    Yeah, however did families get from point A to point B before SUVs? They didn’t, and were naturally selected out of the gene pool, that’s how!

    I also just discovered Universal used this perversion of a film to sell disposable diapers, and (living in a cave and all) include a fucking unforgivable “That’s a woman!?” joke in their commercials for the film. Also, Universal didn’t have any environmental message to their film whatsoever until a 4th-grade class started a change.org petition.

    Seriously, holy fuck. They’re not just pissing on the original, they’re lighting it on fire and dancing.

  11. 11
    starskeptic

    Jason, you sound like someone who’s never had to move livestock and is probably under 6′ tall. I’m looking at this SUV that weighs twice as much as my 10-yr old Protegé – and gets better mileage! {how dare they!?}My point being that I don’t think this has quite the WTF? factor(in regard to the car not the diapers) that your post heading suggests…

  12. 12
    Jason Thibeault

    a) I’m 6’1″ and I miss my Hyundai Accent two-door.

    b) If you’re moving livestock, you’re probably going to want something a little more appropriate than an SUV. Like a truck.

    c) This 2013 SUV looks pretty damn average compared to 2012′s offerings.

    You’re letting the mediocre get in the way of the good.

  13. 13
    Jason Thibeault

    In other words, you’ve made a Thneed out of a pretty shitty object.

  14. 14
    starskeptic

    Average? it’s beats everything on that list…Lots of SUV’s are trucks.
    “In other words, you’ve made a Thneed out of a pretty shitty object.” Non sequitur…

  15. 15
    Jason Thibeault

    26 city / 33 highway beats 28/28 or 31/34? Interesting math.

  16. 16
    Jason Thibeault

    The 28/28 is a 7-seater, by the way.

  17. 17
    Jason Thibeault

    Additionally, what exactly are your daily needs that require an SUV over anything I showed you on that other list that gets numbers like, say, 111?

    Or are you just here as the token gas-guzzler lover to undercut the fact that this is a movie about environmentalism that’s advertising cars that use gasoline, as though we aren’t perfectly aware that this culture has a gasoline addiction that needs to be addressed or else we’re going to destroy our environment? Now who tried to warn us about this sort of thing… hmm… someone very proximate to this conversation…

  18. 18
    starskeptic

    You’re right – 33 is average compared to 34…

  19. 19
    starskeptic

    …why in the name of all that’s unholy would I want to give up a 10-yr old Protegé that runs like a Swiss watch?
    And why are you so worked up that your response to someone who disagrees with you is to call them names?

  20. 20
    Jason Thibeault

    A Mazda SUV that gets 28/33 is apparently enough for you to replace said Protegé with *two*, so…

    Calling you the devil’s advocate on this post is calling you a name?

  21. 21
    starskeptic

    First – I was “hot and bothered”. I am neither, thank you for asking…now I must be a “token gas-guzzler lover” – and you never referred to me as a “devil’s advocate” until just now (very weird!?).

    in lieu of massive investment in public transportation (which, in the case of the U.S. isn’t going to happen) – I’d really like folks to choose better; but there are a lot of examples worse than the one you gave…

    as I said “I’m looking at this SUV that weighs twice as much as my 10-yr old Protegé – and gets better mileage!”- I don’t have to be a “gas-guzzler lover” to be impressed by that.

  22. 22
    Jason Thibeault

    Wow. Really? You don’t think “or are you the token gas-guzzler lover” is a direct accusation of being the devil’s advocate here? And you think “hot and bothered” is name-calling? And people try to say that I’M thin-skinned.

  23. 23
    Stephanie Zvan

    Ah, yes. The Lorax, standing for “there are a lot of examples worse” for the last 40 years. Yes, a perfect icon for this SUV.

    Look, you want to fit a tall person and still save gas, you get a Jetta. You want to haul things and still save gas, you get a diesel truck. In neither case do you get an unnecessary “lifestyle” vehicle that claims to speak for the trees.

  24. 24
    starskeptic

    Jason – you’re getting more incoherent the longer this goes on – instead of engaging, now you’re just goading…

  25. 25
    Jason Thibeault

    OH NO I’M INCOHERENT!?!

    *flounces in tears*

  26. 26
    Bill Door

    Yay. Now the Swami-Swans will be able to sing 2% longer.

  27. 27
    starskeptic

    Stay classy, Jason…

  28. 28
    Stephanie Zvan

    Which class does Jason need to belong to for you to show up and do something other than snarking followed by whining about getting snarked at in return, starskeptic?

  29. 29
    starskeptic

    I made a point- which has been ignored; any snarking or whining hasn’t been on my part…and attempts to clarify my point get snarking and whining back- exactly what class would you want to put that in?

  30. 30
    Stephanie Zvan

    You poor, precious child. Your point hasn’t been ignored. It has, in fact, been argued against. See comments 6, 8, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 23.

    Your snark, on the other hand, was returned to you as you dealt it out, and you’re whining about it. Your point has even been argued against by multiple people, at least one of whom you ignored in favor of whining about the snark directed at you. That puts you pretty firmly in the entitled class.

  31. 31
    Stephanie Zvan

    …any snarking or whining hasn’t been on my part…

    Wait. Do you mean to tell me that you truly both want two SUVs and don’t want to replace your precision Swiss car? So you’re not snarking but desperately confused?

  32. 32
    starskeptic

    Stephanie, I’ll add “poor, precious child” to that growing list…
    “comments 6, 8, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 23.” are peripheral to the point I was trying to make and are not arguments against it.
    I’ll give it another go:
    if an actual gas-guzzler like a Humvee were used in the ad – that would have made Jason’s point -in spades.
    here, we are talking about a new SUV that just so happens to get virtually the same mileage as a 2012 Corolla [what percentage of the time do you see a Corolla that’s actually full?] http://www.fueleconomy.gov/. That doesn’t make Jason’s point at all. “Cynical and tone-deaf marketing”? Hardly. Matter of fact – that’s wickedly shrewd marketing.
    So, if you’re going to tell me that: 29mpg(combined)26mpg(city)32mpg(hwy) makes one vehicle a gas-guzzler while the long standard econo-box’s 29mpg(combined)26mpg(city)34mpg(hwy) does not – then I’d say that your objection boils down to three letters… S, U, and V.
    How many mpg’s it’s supposed to make (whatever that means) isn’t relevant. That it doesn’t get the mileage of a Prius also isn’t relevant. If my neighbor happened to buy one of these – on what grounds could I possibly object? Certainly not based on his using less fuel than my “economy” car does.

  33. 33
    starskeptic

    …and just for the sake of completeness – the ‘my “economy” car’ refers to a 2002 Mazda Protegé5 24mpg(combined)22mpg(city)28mpg(hwy)

  34. 34
    Stephanie Zvan

    Here’s the thing you apparently failed to notice, starskeptic. That’s already been answered.

    Jason answered it when he told you you were letting the mediocre be the enemy of the good. He answered it again when he pointed out that your neighbor doesn’t actually need to haul livestock (which can’t be done with the CX-5, by the way) or buy a large vehicle in order to accommodate being tall. I answered it when I listed vehicles that are actually relatively fuel efficient that suited both those needs.

    The point is that the Lorax doesn’t stand for “Meh, the other guy’s worse”, and pretending it does is enabling that behavior. The Lorax doesn’t stand for “too lazy to actually make a decision that makes a difference”. And it certainly doesn’t stand for “Oh, pretty, shiny consumer item that makes a meaningless gesture toward assuaging my guilt–give me two of them“.

  35. 35
    starskeptic

    “already been answered.”?….um, no.
    And the stand I’m taking is ‘making the best of what (because of our society’s short-sightedness) many people cannot do without ‘ – that is – a vehicle.
    Whether or not my neighbor needs to haul livestock [And many of them do], isn’t relevant – when there are other reasons for not wanting a small car. That some tall people don’t need a bigger car isn’t relevant when there are some who so. That you are able to list “vehicles that are actually relatively fuel efficient that suited both those needs.”, isn’t relevant – to the point I made. A symbol of environmental responsibility got co-opted(appropriated) and, on fuel economy alone, isn’t a bad choice. That that is a “meaningless gesture toward assuaging my guilt” for you – doesn’t make it such for someone else.

  36. 36
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yes, on fuel economy alone, it is a bad choice–unless you artificially limit your choices to vehicles that are poor choices, as you keep doing. Is there a particular reason you have some need to do this?

  37. 37
    starskeptic

    On fuel economy alone – getting the same mileage as a Corolla is a bad choice…O.K. – if you say so.

    “unless you artificially limit your choices to vehicles that are poor choices, as you keep doing” – I haven’t – see above…

    “Is there a particular reason you have some need to do this?” – no need that I am aware of…and you?

  38. 38
    Stephanie Zvan

    Why, yes, getting the same gas mileage as a Corolla is a bad choice. Did it really take this many repetitions for you to understand this?

  39. 39
    starskeptic

    No, it took that many to get an admission of such from you. Doing so earlier could have saved us a great deal of talking past each other.
    I wish we could dispense with automobiles altogether – and that we could do so before nature makes the decision for us. I don’t think we can. I wish that everyone could have a Prius – it’s not a solution to the problem, but it would buy us time. After digging out a co-workers Prius for the 3rd time in the middle of a Colorado winter I realized that that choice isn’t going to work for everyone. After having to deal with the present conditions of the roads in central Illinois the thought “I might need a bigger car” occurred to me for first time in my life. So -even though in some instances it’s drop dead easy- I’m not so quick to make blanket judgments on what other people end up driving. Is the fuel efficiency of a corolla the best possible? Obviously not. Is it the best possible for a gasoline engine? No it isn’t that either. Is it a reasonable choice given the constraints of physics on gas engines coupled with the environmental restraints manufacturers have to wrestle with? Unequivocally yes. So if my neighbor decides to get an SUV that uses less fuel than his previous vehicle and the one I’m driving, I say more power to him.

  40. 40
    John Horstman

    Sure, an SUV is probably the most fuel-efficient way to transport six people, but seriously, what percentage of the time do you see an SUV that’s actually full?

    AND re: staraskeptic: Actually, I’m willing to bet that 6 bicycles or 6 pairs of walking shoes is the most fuel-efficient way to transport 6 people. Best part: single-occupancy vehicles are always 100% full when in use. So an SUV, any SUV (or any other gasoline vehicle), is not relatively environmentally-friendly for transporting people.

    As for something like livestock, that argument presupposes that livestock MUST be transported and that they have any value at all that can’t be achieved by more environmentally-friendly means. No on both points – before SUVs, ranchers walked their cattle to the slaughterhouses (cattle drives, I believe they were called), and there’s no particular reason that they couldn’t do so now (well, there are particular reasons, but none of them are good reasons, as they boil down to “I want to make more money,” or, “I want to make money at all doing something The Market, on which we nonsensically stake our economic functioning, has deemed not-valuable”). Conversion of animals like sheep or pigs to raw materials (dead meat, bulk wool) or market-ready products (salable cuts of meat, refined wool cloth, thread/yarn, etc.) was handled on-site. You’re just pointing out an organizational problem with contemporary farming – SUVs are only ‘necessary’ in your example if we accept an abysmal model of production as a given. On top of that, there’s no particular reason we need to farm animals at all these days, in environmentally-friendly or -unfriendly ways. SUVs are, in the overwhelming majority of cases, thneeds.

    Re #39: Again, that’s a problem of poor systemic organization. Live where you work (or work where you live); if you don’t, you’re unnecessarily* damaging the environment. That doesn’t necessarily make one a Bad Person or even mean one is behaving unethically*, but it definitely does mean one is damaging the environment. Get a bike, take the bus, or walk. If you can’t, you live too far away. *(If there really is no option to live by the only place one can find work, then I’ll grant one is constrained by circumstance such that a gas-powered vehicle may be necessary for survival.) But the main point is that an environmentalist story shouldn’t be used to sell something for which there is, in the vast majority of cases, a viable, less-polluting alternative.

  41. 41
    John Horstman

    Huh, didn’t render the blockquote; that first paragraph is a quote from Jason’s initial post.

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