It's a slightly strange movie for a car company to call its own, since the original book was a enviromentalist tale and the Lorax – who spoke for the truffula trees against the industrial ambitions of the Once-ler – complained even more when trucks began rolling into the forest. The case is aided by the fact that Universal got rid of that storyline almost completely, and Mazda's Skyactiv credentials are what's really in play here.
Follow the jump for Mazda's 45-second commercial for the CX-5 and the movie, as well as a press release on its donations to the National Education Association.
DR. SEUSS' THE LORAX
Mazda Releases Custom National Commercial and Other Assets to Promote Partnership
IRVINE, Calif. (February 17, 2012) – Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today announced its strategic partnership in support of the launch of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, in theatres March 2. From the creators of Despicable Me and the imagination of Dr. Seuss comes the much anticipated feature Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, a 3D-CG adaptation of the classic tale of a forest guardian who shares the enduring power of hope. Mazda was chosen as a strategic partner for the animated adventure because of its innovative SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY and commitment to empower consumers to make more informed choices for their families and the environment.
To activate the partnership, Mazda will launch a co-branded national Dr. Seuss' The Lorax-themed commercial spot based around Mazda's SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY, which increases fuel economy without sacrificing performance. Mazda was able to work directly with the filmmakers to create a :30 and :45 version of the spot, featuring the all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 small crossover SUV travelling through the "Truffula Valley" featured in the 3D feature.
Mazda's U.S. Director of Design, Derek Jenkins, contributed to the look of the commercial by working with his design team, which is based at Mazda's R&D facility in Irvine, Calif. The team reviewed early sketches and, working closely with the filmmakers who created Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, delivered an animated version of the Mazda CX-5. This design was able to capture the proportion and basic look of the Mazda CX-5, while lending it a "Seussian" aesthetic that worked organically with the characters and the feel of the animated adventure.
The development of the spot was a unique collaboration between MNAO as a corporate partner, MNAO's advertising agency, Garage Team Mazda and Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment and the Paris-based animation house Illumination Mac Guff.
The narrative of the spot features the "Seuss-ified" Mazda CX-5 travelling through the "Truffula Valley." Around each curve in the road viewers see one of the animals featured in Dr. Seuss' The Lorax and hear the benefits of Mazda SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY. The Lorax also is featured in the spot, and he is brought to life through the vocal talents of Danny DeVito, who voices the title character in the film.
"We're proud to be working with so many talented individuals to bring to life this wonderful partnership with Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's Dr. Seuss' The Lorax movie," said Don Romano, chief marketing officer, MNAO. "We take a strategic approach when it comes to partnering with other companies and with the launch of our all-new, fuel-efficient, performance driven SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY, this seemed to be a natural fit. The collaboration and integration that went into creating these custom-animated spots featuring the Mazda CX-5 with SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY driving through 'Truffula Valley' is unprecedented."
"The Lorax character's view of the environment fits in exactly with Mazda and SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY, so the two were a perfect match for a commercial," said Illumination Entertainment founder and CEO Chris Meledandri. "By staying true to who the Lorax and other Truffula Valley animals are we were able to create a fun and engaging spot."
Beginning tonight, the custom commercial will air nationally on targeted television networks and on March 2, the :30 spot will run in all theatres playing PG titles.
To further its commitment to the partnership, MNAO has made a significant philanthropic pledge, committing to a donation of up to $1 million to the National Education Association (NEA) as part of the organization's Read Across America Program. Between February 20 and April 2, Mazda will donate $25 per test drive, up to $1 million in total, to the NEA Foundation, providing vital funds to help support struggling public school libraries across the country.
NEA's "Read Across America Tour - Driven by Mazda," will focus on sharing the story of Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" with students across the country. MNAO will also power the tour by providing Mazda CX-5 and Mazda3 vehicles equipped SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY and wrapped with the colorful graphics of the program.
In addition to the TV and theatrical spots, the campaign will incorporate digital assets and social media applications to promote the film partnership and test drive donation program. These include a dedicated co-branded Facebook page, a shareable applet and a call-to-action banner on www.mazdausa.com, MNAO's official website.
As the first and only carmaker to receive the honor of the "Truffula Tree Seal of Approval," Garage Team Mazda has created a custom graphic icon of the certification, which will be produced as stickers, buttons and other collateral to be used as promotion of the partnership.
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax opens in theatres nationwide on March 2.
About Mazda North American Operations:
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
About Dr. Seuss' The Lorax:
From the creators of Despicable Me and the imagination of Dr. Seuss comes the much anticipated feature Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, a 3D-CG adaptation of the classic tale of a forest guardian who shares the enduring power of hope. The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for a real Truffula Tree, the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To get it he must find the story of the Lorax, the acerbic yet charming character who fights to protect his world.
Lending their vocal talents to the project are Danny DeVito as the iconic title character of the Lorax and Ed Helms as the enigmatic Once-ler. Also bringing their voices to the adventure are global superstars Zac Efron as Ted, the idealistic youth who searches for the Lorax, and Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift as Audrey, the girl of Ted's dreams. Rounding out the cast are Rob Riggle as the villain O'Hare, Jenny Slate as Ted's protective mother and beloved actress Betty White as Ted's wise Grammy Norma.
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is the third feature created by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Hop). www.theloraxmovie.com