Dr. Seuss Never Meant for 'The Lorax' to Sell Diapers

Rant 34

There are always a few off-putting moments when you see how a classic children's book has been reimagined for modern cinema. In Dr. Suess's The Lorax, for instance, I didn't quite imagine the Lorax speaking in Danny Devito's voice. I didn't hear catchy songs in my head when I read the book. Most of all, I didn't dream of all the merchandise and brand tie-ins that could be hypocritically linked what was once, at essence, a story about reducing consumption and promoting conservation.

Today is The Lorax's release date, and if you've seen a handful of movie promotions from Universal Studios over the last few weeks, ohhhh boy. You don't know the half of it.

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues, And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs" – He was very upset as he shouted and puffed – "What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"

Why, Mr. Lorax, they made
Truffula Chip Pancakes at IHOP, of course. They put your face on Seventh Generation diapers and packages of YoKids Yogurt. They're selling your image at Target, Pottery Barn Kids, and Whole Foods. You're promoting Target, Comcast Xfinity, and more through online games and sweepstakes. You're helping HP market their printers. You showed up at the Blissdom blogger conference to pose with bloggers for photo opportunities.

Remember how The Lorax talked about how the Truffula Trees were
destroyed by greed and overuse? If you ask me, this new movie was created for one reason only: to sell cross-promotions. Promotions for machines that devour ink and paper, disposable diapers, use-once birthday party themes, and cars.

Yes, cars.
Have you seen the Mazda/Lorax ad?

As if the ad isn't bad enough on its own,
Mazda has been targeting elementary schools nationwide with this message. A Mazda representative was at a grade school in Virginia last week to tell children, "That’s the kind of car we think the Lorax would like to drive." A Lorax mascot emerged to give the kids hugs, and everyone was ushered outside to see a couple of Lorax-painted Mazda cars with “Truffula Tree-approved SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY.”

Mazda then told the kids that for every parent they enticed to test-drive a car, the company would donate $25 to the NEA’s foundation for public schools.

From the reviews I've read, the new movie manages to convey a message of environmentalism, and that's great. But it's all bullshit.
We can't buy our way into a greener world, and creating more pointless consumer demand goes against everything the original book stood for. I'm not sure what The Lorax would have said about using his image to submerse children in corporate-created materialism, but it might have been something like this:    

Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot.
Nothing is going to get better.
It's not.

What do you think about all the Lorax merchandising and corporate tie-ins?

Image via YouTube



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nonmember avatar Cara

I was really, really hoping they'd be cloth diapers. Sigh. I use alot of 7th generation products, but when I researched disposable diapering options to use when traveling I was unimpressed. And even the brand I do sometimes use is the best of the not good options, so I don't think they get to use The Lorax either. Who is managing Seuss' intellectual property rights? They need a reminder of what he stood for.

Freela Freela

This is probably my all-time favourite children's book... it's perfect in it's simplicity.  And I've got no urge to see the movie, and even less urge to see it used to sell diapers and cars.  My kids want to see it, but I'll try to find some other way to keep them occupied over March Break!

MamaM... MamaMandee

Just a sign of the times! 

nonmember avatar Jane

This disgusts me. I read that book to my daughter and strive to live sustainably. I'll be obtaining this movie illegally to avoid feeding these corporate monsters even more. And SHAME ON MAZDA!

Leticia Trevino

 It angers me that this wonderful classic has been redone ...It's a CLASSIC, people.  and what really makes me angry is that this film is given a PG rating ...PG for Dr. Seuss  !  for bad language...Dr.Suess invented his own words...couldn't something be invented for the curse words they feel they have to use ?

jagam... jagamama0710

Wow...that makes me sad. The message is totally lost. I'm really disturbed that a car representative was at an elementary school. WTF?

The stonyfield yogurt doesn't bother me too much because they were giving away a bunch of packets of free organic basil seeds online. We got some. :) 

I do want to see the movie though. I think it looks cute. 

Bmat Bmat

I'm going to see the movie on Thursday, and I hope it isn't ruined by ads. As far as marketing outside the movie- this doesn't bother me.

nonmember avatar Becky

I'm disgusted by this movie. The Lorax was my favorite Dr. Seuss as a child, and I watched the ORIGINAL movie over and over and over again (along with The Sneetches, because they were together on the tape my mom made for me). In the original movie version they hit upon the anti-corporate greed message a bit harder than they do in the book, so all the crossover promotion really makes me angry that the message of The Lorax is lost. Hearing Danny DeVito proclaim "that's a woman?!" somehow doesn't connect with me in the same way as the sad songs and fates of the barbaloot suits and swammy swans =(

nonmember avatar AI

Watched the movie yesterday, or I should say I was talked into it. Aside from the ads, the amount of pointless action scenes and cheesy jokes that dominated the WHOLE film just ruined it. They managed to create a million new characters but never mention the names of the creatures in the forest: the Swomee Swans, Bar-ba-loots, and Humming-fish. How can they encourage kids to protect nature's creatures if they have no names and are just back-up singers and comedy relief? I had to suppress any memory of the book in order to sit tolerably through it. Oh, and a nice touch of irony was added as we filed out of the theater and all of the kids left their trash behind. Yeah, losing faith in humanity here.

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