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Advertisers Co-Opting The Lorax With Half-Truths About Conservation 265

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the he-who-controls-the-past dept.
pigrabbitbear writes with an interesting opinion on the "green" marketing surrounding The Lorax movie adaptation. From the article: "There may be all kinds of reasons to defend the Lorax — Dr. Seuss's wondrous children's fable that's also a seminal book about conservation — from the wrath of Lou Dobbs and Fox News and others to whom the children's book-turned-Disney film is little more than liberal propaganda. ... For adults dealing with the real world of compromise, the Lorax is loved and hated for being such a ridiculously staunch environmentalist. Dude refuses to give an inch, which isn’t realistic, but certainly makes him a compelling character. That character is now being used as a shill for the CX-5, a small SUV that’s being billed as fuel-efficient and eco-friendly. What has the poor Lorax become?"
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Advertisers Co-Opting The Lorax With Half-Truths About Conservation

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  • Tragedy (Score:5, Funny)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @09:19AM (#39184121)

    That character is now being used as a shill for the CX-5, a small SUV that’s being billed as fuel-efficient and eco-friendly.

    I'm more concerned about lightning mcqueen from cars and cars2 being used to sell my kid a lunch box and thermos (true story!)

    Come on... slow news day?

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      No it's not. I see those commercials as the new CX-5 is GREEN because it runs on the little furry creatures instead of oil.

      Why use oil when we can breed these furry things as a renewable fuel source?

      • by Wild_dog! (98536)

        They need something that runs on stuffed animals. I have thrown away many garbage bags of them and my kids keep getting more somehow. It is quite miraculous how they keep coming into the house.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          It is quite miraculous how they keep coming into the house.

          The same way empty clothes hangers seemingly spontaneously come into being in the closet -- it's the missing socks. Socks are the larvae of coathangers and stuffed animals.

      • I thought it ran from the oil squeezed out of little furry creatures. My bad.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Come on... slow news day?

      Must be, I didn't see many stories posted yet this morning. But what I thought was more interesting was something I saw on TV news a few days ago. It seems that some grade school kids took on the studios for their lack of environmentalism in the movie's web site, and THE KIDS BEAT HOLLYWOOD!

      I wish I had a link, but it was TV.

    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      Then, when every last cent of their money was spent,
      the Fix-It-Up-Chappie packed up and he went.
      And he laughed as he drove in his car up the beach,
      “They never will learn; no, you can’t teach a Sneetch!”
    • "Come on... slow news day?"

      Hey, it was on The Colbert Show last night, so it *must* be relevant, or at least trending, or something.

      I'm not an eco-nut, but I did grow up with the original Lorax (which bears little resemblence to the previews of this movie) and I do think the marketing department went off the rails a bit with the Mazda endorsement and tie-in.

      Mind you, I'd probably have to think the same about -any- vehicle tie in that doesn't run on a sustainably grown quantity of truffala fruit.

      It's just th

  • by John3 (85454) <(moc.sllenroc) (ta) (3nhoj)> on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @09:23AM (#39184141) Homepage Journal

    The Lorax was was of my favorite books by Dr. Seuss. I was a regular participant in "Read Aloud" days at our local elementary school, and when I had a choice of the book this is the one I selected to read. It was a simple story, well illustrated, and enjoyable.

    Obviously to stretch the story to a feature length film the writers had to include additional story elements, but it just looks SO busy. I wish they would stop destroying these classics, but I guess Hollywood is grasping for ideas and hoped to trade off nostalgia for this story and lure parents to the theater with their children. Pick up the book instead, read it to your kids, and discuss.

  • Earlier Suess (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mikkeles (698461) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @09:31AM (#39184215)

    Early in his career, Geisel drew copy for FLIT (a particularly noxious insect spray) advertising; I wonder if that is what drove him to create such an uncompromising Lorax.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @09:34AM (#39184233)

    This movie will be forgotten in five years, whereas the book will remain. Just keep your damn kids away from the movie.

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @09:41AM (#39184273) Homepage

    Advertisers Co-Opting The Lorax With Half-Truths About Conservation

    So about 50% more truth than usual then?

  • Not a Disney film! (Score:5, Informative)

    by ahecht (567934) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @09:45AM (#39184293) Homepage

    Disney has nothing to do with The Lorax. Like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat, this is a Universal Pictures film. It is being produced by Universal's Illumination Entertainment, the same studio that did Despicable Me and Hop.

    • by residieu (577863)
      It was exciting to see a new animation studio to compete with Pixar and Dreamworks. Sad that after (the excellent) Despicable Me all they've done is garbage.
  • by Coreigh (185150) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @10:11AM (#39184521) Homepage

    When any version of a truth is used to deceive it is nothing more than a lie.

  • "Compromise" cannot be a mode of thinking or you never end up with a bottom line. Some things, like nuclear war and avoiding environmental catastrophe, are optional decisions. We need to get them right because the consequences are real and will be absolute. If we define maturity as an intention to "compromise" on important issues, I want no part of maturity.

    • "Compromise" cannot be a mode of thinking or you never end up with a bottom line. Some things, like nuclear war and avoiding environmental catastrophe, are optional decisions. We need to get them right because the consequences are real and will be absolute. If we define maturity as an intention to "compromise" on important issues, I want no part of maturity.

      Spoken like one of our politicians (it matters not which party). Never compromise with the enemy, we are against everything they say! Filibuster, blockade, shut down the government! We can never even hint that the other side might have a valid point in this argument!

      Now lets try it with compromise:
      You are right, some things can never be compromised on. But to say you must never compromise, or that every belief you hold is paramount is too extreme. Adults need to learn that they are not little children that

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @10:18AM (#39184591)

    Fuck those people. You have a propaganda film out now that every conservative dickweed should be able to enjoy. Act of Valor, the one starring real soldiers, using live ammunition, and overseen by the Pentagon. Stop bitching that other people have what you also have.

    • by operagost (62405)
      That's funny... I always hear progressives saying they also support our troops. Are you telling me I'm wrong, and only "conservative dickweeds" do?
      • by geekoid (135745)

        Support your troops is not the same thing as using propaganda to increase enlistment numbers.
        IT's not the same thing as supporting the idea of sending them to war.

        The same assholes who have changed 'suppot you troops' to be 'Support whatever decision the government has decided to do you the troops, or else you are a terrorist.'

        I support the troops. Use diplomacy to prevent combat, give them all the best possible gear, use them sparingly, don't use them to settle internal conflicts in other nations.

  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @10:19AM (#39184609)

    A corporate sellout....

    • by msobkow (48369)

      And there we have the crux of the matter.

      Someone's estate sold the rights to make the film. They also sold the rights to use the character for advertising products.

      Put the blame where it belongs: on the people who did the selling out.

  • by bughunter (10093) <bughunter&earthlink,net> on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @10:20AM (#39184611) Journal

    Advertisers Co-opting The Lorax

    No shit? Beloved character reduced to shill by Hollywood?? You don't say? That really would be news. NOT.

    With Half-truths

    [clutches heart] Ohmygod. I'm going to faint. Advertisers stretching the truth to market their product. The horror! [beat] This is news?

    About Conservation

    [pause]

    [pause]

    I see what you did there.

    Tell me, if Mr. Lorax had been shanghai'ed into being a spokesman for toothpaste, toys, or floor wax, would this be a story? No. This story just fans the flames of the culture wars. Whoever started this meme knew that the word "Conservation" and the phrase "liberal propaganda" would propagate the meme with his target audience, who likes to get all a-quiver and indignant and victimized when mass media propagate memes they disagree with.

    • by elgo (1751690)
      OK, you are right on the money. It is still worth pointing out that this abomination of a movie is not even trying to pretend to be environmentally aware in its associated marketing deals. Floor wax, etc. might be equallu environmentally unfriendly, but as you said, the shilling for an SUV gets the liberal "target audience" mad. There's nothing wrong with that, though. Advertisers and movie studios have become increasingly brazen, not even pretending to respect the ideas behind the intellectual properties t
    • No shit? Beloved character reduced to shill by Hollywood?? You don't say? That really would be news. NOT.

      It's not just about a character being used to shill for a product. That's not news, that's been going on for decades (centuries?)

      Tell me, if Mr. Lorax had been shanghai'ed into being a spokesman for toothpaste, toys, or floor wax, would this be a story? No. This story just fans the flames of the culture wars. Whoever started this meme knew that the word "Conservation" and the phrase "liberal propaganda"

  • The CX-5 (and every car for that matter) is a THNEED!
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @10:23AM (#39184645)

    I know this is probably going to get me flamed, but my biggest problem with the more extremist environmentalists out there (aside for their propensity for wild-eyed, quasi-religious Chicken Little alarmism) is that they often jump up to protest without any real answer to the question "Well, what's a reasonable alternative?" Most of the alternatives that they do have seem more like pipe dreams to me (at least for now). Sure it would be nice to have giant solar and wind farms that could supply all our energy needs. But those things are, even in the best case scenario, decades away. The idea that we're just going to run out and start shutting down coal and nuclear plants now, with no real replacement save some *hope* for a future of wind and solar is just nuts.

    If you're going to advocate something radical, you had damn well have a pretty good answer on *how* where going to do it without throwing society into chaos. It's nice to save the environment, but we humans are part of that environment too.

    • If you're going to advocate something radical, you had damn well have a pretty good answer on *how* where going to do it without throwing society into chaos. It's nice to save the environment, but we humans are part of that environment too.

      If you're going to advocate something environmentally harmful, you had damn well better have a pretty good answer on how we're going to live that way without destroying our ecosystem. It's nice to have shiny things, but we humans can't live without the environment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      STRAWMAN SPOTTED.

      Look, "environmentalists" are on a pretty wide spectrum. You've got your nuts, and then you've got the people who think "you know, it's probably bad that we pollute so much, let's look for cleaner and more efficient alternatives".

      Your post sounds like you fixate on the nuts so you can ignore the sane people.

  • by Jiro (131519) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @10:24AM (#39184653)

    And normal environmental messages are not coopted by money? Of course they are. Is shilling a fuel-friendly vehicle that much worse than shilling a Prius or carbon credits?

  • To be in a feature film is to volunteer for commercial use. Don't expect Hollywood to change its stripes to save the purity of the Lorax.

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel was good at condensing something to a caricature of reality, and environmentalism was no exception. Like his World War 2 cartoons [ucsd.edu], which in the case of the Japanese were unremittingly racist, the Lorax's enemy became unrecognizable. Who, really, needs a "thneed"? This was obvious to me even as a child. I knew that people built houses and published newspapers from forest products. By eliding those things, Seuss managed to condense an entire string of arguments down to one easy-to-digest

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @10:45AM (#39184865)

    This is Hollywood, why is anyone surprised that a beloved character would be whore'd out? This movie wasn't produced to teach environmentalism, this movie was produced to capitalize on a timely theme and the popularity of Dr. Seuss.

    But then, the answer here is simple. If you take issue with what they've done don't watch the movie. Don't go to the theater and definitely don't buy or rent the DVD. Once you hand your money over you've effectively told the movie company that they've made the right decision.

    It would have been more appropriate to use the Once-Ler to peddle the SUV.

  • ...doesn't understand "classy" or "tactful." If you're a celebrity your digitally reanimated self will be used to sell shit long after you're dead, and who knows what else. I fully expect to see Marilyn Monroe in a commercially released porno before I have any trouble getting a hardon.

  • by residieu (577863)

    I was already put off by the previews, which make it seem likely they intend to throw out the ending of the original (things are bad, but maybe, just maybe, they can get better) to replace it with a traditional happy ending.

    I love my Mazda, but I'm almost ashamed of that commercial. Sure a hybrid is "better" than a traditional car of the same size (depending on construction and disposal of the battery...), but I still doubt the Lorax would "speak for the trees" and advocate cars of any kind.

  • brainwashing my kid to want to drive your CX-5. unfortunately by the time he's old enough to drive, it will probably be out of production.

    • by WiiVault (1039946)
      Good point, however I think they are more interested in the captive audience of parents who see the film with their kids. Getting the Mazda name into kid's heads is just a nice by product.
  • liberal propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by celle (906675) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @11:46AM (#39185497)

    "Dude refuses to give an inch"

        Then he's no liberal. If you look around the stubborn ones are the "my way or no way" republicans. The liberals and the centrists are the ones that have been giving ground the last 18 years. That's why the country is so fucked up with a constitution that's a joke and a dysfunctional regulatory system allowing public to be raped by corporations.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I think you misunderstand. The ones who constantly give ground to the extreme right are no liberals at all.

    • by WiiVault (1039946)
      Thanks for just coming out and saying what is so obvious to many Americans, and the rest of the 1st world who bother to watch our politics. I'm old enough to remember conservatives who used rational argumentation to describe their ideas. I didn't agree with them, but at least they treated voters like thinking people. Today it's just bizarre horseshit like the war on Christianity, in a country where 95%+ of elected leaders are Judeo-Christian, and nearly the same amount of the public. I'm happy to debate re
  • This is exactly what Bill Watterson, author of Calvin & Hobbes was afraid would happen with his characters [wikipedia.org].

    Bill: We thank you for your epic struggle to keep you characters true to your vision. We also hope you've made arrangements to keep that vision intact after your passing.

  • The Lorax would *NEVER* be a spokesperson for any fuel powered automobile, regardless of how much better than other cars its fuel efficiency might be. In fact, he might not even advocate pure electric cars, since so much electricity these days is generated by methods that adversely impact the environment. He would, however, almost certainly advocate cycling... good for one's health *AND* not harmful to the environment either.

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