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Should Seuss’s Lorax Sell 2013 Mazda CX-5 Crossover To Kids?

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Mazda CX-5 Truffula Tree Friendly

Mazda CX-5 Truffula Tree Friendly

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Pester power, the advertising practice of using the nagging abilities of children to sell candy and toys is known and feared by most parents worldwide. 

But what happens when elementary school children are targeted by an automaker in order to pester their parents into taking a test drive? 

Enter Mazda, whose latest marketing campaign for the 2013 CX-5 crossover SUV has entered schools to get kids pestering their parents for a ride.

Last week we reported that the automaker had signed a deal with Universal pictures to use the recently-released 3D animation of The Lorax, Dr. Seuss’s 1971 tale warning of the consequences of destroying the natural world, to help it advertise its high gas-mileage crossover. 

In return for using the cutesy Lorax in its animated TV ad, Mazda agreed to donate $1 million to the National Education Association’s Read Across America Program. 

That’s where we thought it ended. 

2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover on test drive, Southern California, Nov 2011

2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover on test drive, Southern California, Nov 2011

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But as The Washington Post details, Mazda is taking it one step further, a move that has attracted condemnation nationwide.

“At Polk Elementary on Tuesday, more than 100 kindergarteners and fourth- and fifth-graders crowded into the multipurpose room for a rendition of Seuss’s classic environmentalist tale,” wrote Emma Brown.

Brown then described how a Mazda representative stood up, and told the children how they could help raise money for their school, winning  a sweepstakes entry trip to Universal Studios in the process. 

“All they had to do was persuade their parents to go to the nearest Mazda dealership for a test-drive,” Brown wrote. “For every person who test-drives a car -- and brings in a special certificate, which students received at school Tuesday -- Mazda will donate $25 to the NEA’s foundation for public schools.”

That’s not all. As part of the visit, including the obligatory actor-in-a-Lorax-costume, each child was given a close-up look at a 2013 Mazda CX-5. 

Appropriately wrapped with scenes from The Lorax movie, of course. 

While we initially thought The Lorax TV ad spot, along with the  concept of donating money to school reading programs seemed charitable, we’re now not so sure. 

And that’s a shame, because we think the Mazda CX-5 has enough merits to sell itself without relying on pester power.

But what do you think?

Let us know in the Comments below.

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Comments (5)
  1. I think a donation program to something as important as reading is an admirable approach for Mazda. As a parent I would ask my kids about their school days - and nearly 95% of the time a respose would be - "it was a good day". Very seldom did they run home and tell me about a demonstration. I hightly doubt the "pester" approach will happen in this case. Now if they promised the kids free movie tickets or a stuffed animal Lorax - then the proverbial what's in it for me would kick in and the pester would follow.
     
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  2. Here's the real deal. The Mazda rep at the Alexandria school was actually incorrect in talking to the students about getting parents to test drive. The test drive campaign was for Mazda dealers around the country and others to ask the driving public to help raise money for public school libraries. The public, not kids. The tour was about reading students got to see the Lorax and hear his story. The donation? to help buy books sorely needed. the rest of the tour schools didn't receive a sales pitch. The school the WP reporter visited--no librarian-position was cut. music teacher? cut. books? 20 yrs old. at another tour school,a teacher cried, because finally, a local business noticed. I don't work for mazda but i saw the gift not the pitch
     
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  3. I think Mazda wasted their time (dummies), and the car is small enough that a child could drive it, but only about one child in America would even try. I taught kindergarten for four years and I can tell you, nothing Mazda said to the children registered. Unless that car was a very attractive popular toy, there is no way those kids will say anything to their parents about it. To them, it's just another day at school where they are forced to learn about things they want to know nothing about.
     
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  4. It is not noble that Mazda is donating to the school in this manner, and I can assure you that the school is not having trouble getting reading books for the children. The library fund stocked my class room with hundreds of child age appropriate books, and they do that all over America, and publishing companies donate thousands of books to schools every year. So dumb witted Mazda just wasted their money and time with the children in trying to advertise to them.
     
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  5. “Look, Lorax,” I said. “There’s no need here to shout.
    We’ve colluded with Mazda. We’ve worked it all out.
    We’re being quite clever. This deal serves us all --
    Disney and Mazda, and me most of all.

    It's a ruse. It's a sham. It's a con. It's a trick.
    We tell all the kids that their library’s sick.
    To help it get better, all they need do
    is to get mom or dad to take a test drive. Or two.

    Full story here: http://flackops.blogspot.com/2012/03/greenbax.html
     
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