Mazda North American Operations is partnering with Universal Pictures for a promo centering on the 3D version of “Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.”
Irvine, Calif.-based Mazda will associate with the film, which opens March 2, to tout its Skyactiv technology, which boosts fuel economy.
The partnership gave Mazda access to the Lorax film’s designers to help with a co-branded national commercial spot. The ad, in 30-second and 45-second versions, features the 2013 Mazda CX-5 small crossover.
The company says that the crossover is depicted in "Seussified" form: It's an animated version of the CX-5, although the company says it won’t have the outrageous bric-a-brac appearance that conveyances tend to have in stories like "Green Eggs and Ham."
Mazda's U.S. design chief Derek Jenkins hunkered down with the filmmakers to create a look for the CX-5 that did not violate the actual vehicle design or the Seuss aesthetic. Jenkins reviewed storyboards and helped the movie's animators pen a version of the vehicle for the ad.
Mazda's advertising agency, Garage Team Mazda and Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment and the Paris-based animation house Illumination Mac Guff also created the ad, wherein the CX-5 travels through the "Truffula Valley." Around each curve in the road viewers see one of the animals featured in the story, while also hearing Mazda product benefits. The Lorax is also featured in the spot, with distinctly Loraxian actor Danny DeVito doing the voice, as he does in the film.
"This seemed to be a natural fit,” said Don Romano, Mazda's U.S. CMO, in a release. “The collaboration and integration that went into creating these custom-animated spots…is unprecedented."
The ad broke Feb. 17 on national networks. Then, on March 2, the 30-second spot will run in all theatres playing PG titles.
Between Feb. 20 and April 2, Mazda North America will donate $25 per test drive, up to $1 million in total, to the National Education Association (NEA) as part of the organization's Read Across America Program. As part of the "Read Across America Tour - Driven by Mazda," which focuses on getting the book version of "The Lorax" to students, Mazda will provide Lorax-wrapped CX-5 and Mazda3 vehicles.
The effort is integrated online, per Mazda, with digital assets and social media applications promoting the film and test drive donation program. There will be a co-branded Facebook page, a shareable applet and a call-to-action banner on www.mazdausa.com.