Blue homunculi invade the woods

The Ad Council and the US Forest Service evidently could not find a single charismatic native species with which to advertize the Southern Appalachians forests, so they imported Belgian cartoon characters and released them into the woods near Chattanooga. They photographed the results of this reckless transplant and, for the edification of us all, hoisted their snapshots onto a billboard. Walking in the strip mall, we cast our eyes to the heavens and are exhorted to get out and see some Nature-Sony. (The woods are now co-branded with Sony pictures, where movie ads are PSAs.)


Without a hefty dose of smurfshrooms, people are gonna be disappointed. Thankfully, anti-semitic, misogynistic, blue commune-dwellers are rare creatures in the forest.

But asinine illusions scrawled on billboards? Ah, there’s an American species that our institutions can get behind.

A sound: Ed Abbey snorts from his grave.

A dream: vultures on the billboard; a stucco of guano.

14 thoughts on “Blue homunculi invade the woods

  1. Denise

    Are they the same people that use Shrek on billboards here in Seattle? I wonder if these designers have ever been in a forest? I’m surprised, really, because I’ve done work for the Forest Service and they have a lot of people who are commited naturalists. Someone must be telling them that kids won’t like nature unless it’s plastic dreck. I cannot bear it!

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      This must be coming down from the “opportunities” that they saw in partnering with Sony. Unfortunately, Sony is the winner, in my opinion.

      I agree: there are some great naturalists in the USFS. I doubt that smurfs would the first choice of most people employed in that agency…

  2. Susan Loeb

    I’m sorry that education has to be presented as entertainment in order to attract young people. What happened to the thrill of learning and experiencing for it’s own sake? Isn’t the wonder of nature enough? Or has our society gotten so used to “experiencing” nature through videos that we are completely out of touch with the real thing?

  3. Bruce Huber

    Oh great! Now we have Invasive Flemish misogynist invading our woodlands. They don’t even have the decency to biodegrade.

  4. Anne

    I think that I shall never see a bill board lovely as a tree.
    Indeed, unless those billboards fall, I’ll never see a tree at all.
    Ogden Nash

  5. literaryeyes

    This ad campaign is awful. I bet a lot of kids would get turned on by photos of animals and birds. In fact, the kiids I know and the one I once was found rocks, leaves, shells, turtles, and other ordinary flora and fauna fascinating.


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