You’ve probably heard about greenwashing — when a company tries to present itself as “eco-friendly” even though it is questionable at best on the environment. The obvious example: when BP tells you it’s all about moving “Beyond Petroleum”, even though its business remains mostly focused on extracting and refining oil.
Today, advertisers are turning to a much more mischievous kind of greenwashing, with ads that don’t really make any concrete statements. Instead, these ads get you thinking about a set of values and emotions, and associate their brand with those ideas. “Hey,” the advertisers think, “if we don’t really claim anything, no one can say we’re lying.” (See also: McDonald’s latest ads featuring the family farmer who grows their potatoes.)
In that vein, we bring you the worst example of this yet: Mazda’s “Truffula Tree Certification” ad. Take a look:
Since “The Lorax” and its “Truffula Tree Certification” ad are fictional – THEY ARE TOTALLY MADE UP – there are technically no false statements in this ad.
But, it’s pretty clear that Mazda is trying to hop onto the values and emotions most people associate with the Lorax – conserving our resources, sharing what we’ve got on this precious planet, and teaching those values to our children. (See this page for a refresher on the original book.)
Mazda: we’re glad that you’re producing cars with high fuel efficiency. More automakers should. But really? We’re still burning lots of gasoline in these cars. Let’s save the Lorax for a truly green future. And someday, if Mazda is helping preserve trees, cut needless consumption, and create a sustainable economy for all — then, maybe, they can use the Lorax in their ads.