For some time, Toyota has held the crown when it comes to bizarre -- and sometimes cute -- ad campaigns for its range of Prius hybrids. 

Now Mazda wants some of the cute green ad action. 

In its latest ad, Mazda proudly proclaims that its 2013 CX-5 compact crossover is Truffula Tree friendly, thanks to its high mileage SkyActiv engine

Unless you’ve read The Lorax -- a children’s book written in 1971 by Dr. Seuss -- you might not know what a Truffula Tree is. 

Simply put, they are the trees which are cut down in The Lorax by the greedy Once-ler, who turns their foliage into a knitted garment called a Thneed.

Why use a fictitious tree with a strange name from a children’s book written 41 years ago to advertise a high gas mileage car? 

Firstly, The Lorax is a fable warning of the dangers of not looking after the natural world, demonstrating what happens if natural resources are squandered. 

2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover

2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover

Secondly, The Lorax has recently been turned into a multi-million dollar 3-D animated Universal Pictures feature film.  And as is often the case, films can help automakers sell cars. 

As part of the ad deal, Mazda has agreed to donate $1 million to the National Education Association’s Read Across America program, which often uses Dr. Seuss’ books as a way of encouraging children nationwide to read. 

Interestingly, although the ad centers around the 2013 Mazda CX-5, there isn’t a single shot of the real car in the 45 second ad. 

Instead, the CX-5 has been Seussified, giving it a rounder, more cartoonish child-friendly appearance in keeping with the Seuss world.

That’s a clever move, because if an automaker makes a car appeal to kids, they unlock the terrors of pester power.  

And as any parent will tell you, pester power is a force to be reckoned with


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