The premiere for Pixar’s new animated adventure, Wall-E, went down last Friday in LA and was received with positive reviews. There’s no doubt that the studio known for such hits as Monsters, Inc., and Toy Story has another hit on its hands. What is interesting to note, however, is that they may have ventured into territory that for the first time will find them being criticized for not carrying their “movie lessons” into the real world.
The basic premise for Wall-E is that the earth has been trashed by over-consumption, consumerism, and envrionmental degradation. Humans have long left in search of other planets to colonize — while leaving robots to tend to their waste. I won’t delve any further, but let’s just say that love — and love for the earth — are two of the main themes.
According to CHUD writer Devin Faraci, it’s the latter that may end up proving ironic. Amidst the hundred or more movie tie-ins he had to witness as part of a marketing sales pitch, the only environmentally-friendly item the “PRbot” could point out was a post-consumer Wall-E branded Kleenex box. As Faraci pointed out,
“Every environmental group will beg you to avoid Kleenex, since they’re wiping out Canada’s Boreal Forest to give you a place to blow your nose, so the Kleenex connection is f**king pathetic in itself for a movie that trumpets taking care of the environment.”
Even worse, when the author asked if there was anything else green, the PR rep became “flustered.”
How is this possible? In a time when we now expect due diligence behind the scenes, as well as in front when it comes to promoting environmental themes — how is it that nobody thought to include a percentage of marketing tie-ins with green credentials? Worse — how does one not expect to receive questions of this kind amidst plastic Wall-E action figures, Wall-E branded clothing and bed sets and drapes?
Faraci points out this sad truth in his intrepretation of Pixar’s marketing strategy:
“Hey kids! The Earth is important, and we should protect it. Remember this by buying lots of bad for the environment Wall-E plastic objects! Also, it’s bad to sit around and eat poorly – you should enjoy the world around you! You can remember this by buying the Wall-E video game, or any of the Wall-E action figures! And also, following advertising is for suckers, and you should have an independent mind. Prove how independent you are with your new Wall-E clothes!”
What a missed opportunity. Check out the rest of Faraci’s fantastic article here.