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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hey Toyota: Let the Pints for Prostates Car "Race"


Toyota has been having more than its share of problems in recent months. They've had to recall 8.5 million vehicles to solve various safety issues, most involving accelerators and braking systems. Critics have charged the recalls came only after Toyota had ignored customer complaints and accident reports.

This week Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda was the guest of a House of Representatives hearing and later gave a tearful apology to company employees. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said the recalled Toyota vehicles are "not safe." Sales of Toyotas are said to be off 10 percent.

In the middle of all of these problems, Toyota continues to try to market its cars. For most of my driving life the Toyota brand has stood for quality, but that reputation has suffered a major body blow. Still, with its involvement in NASCAR, Toyota Racing has launched a major advertising campaign asking fans to "Sponsafy" a car. Fans can create a virtual NASCAR car and through a voting process the top car will end up as a pace vehicle at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte on May 22nd.

Well, I thought "sponsafying" a car for the contest might be a fun way to promote the Pints for Prostates campaign and reach a few men with a simple message: "Get a PSA Test." After all, look at what the NFL did for the cause of breast cancer awareness early this past season by allowing players to wear pink. Click on the photo and you'll get a view of the Pints for Prostates car that was submitted.

Amazingly, Toyota Racing has rejected the design saying it "Contains offensive or inappropriate content." Really? What is offensive about a car design that encourages men to pay attention to their health? Using the universal language of beer to reach men with an important health message certainly cannot be inappropriate for a sport that was once sponsored by a tobacco company and has had cars sponsored by beer, spirits and wine brands for decades. Makes you wonder if Toyota has something against men's health?

There is still time for the Pints for Prostates ride to be part of the Toyota Sponsafy promotion and with your help we can make it happen. Please send a quick email to Kym Strong (kym_strong@toyota.com) of Toyota Motorsports and Greg Thome (greg_thome@toyota.com) of Toyota Corporate Communications. Use the subject line "Race the Pints for Prostates Car."

Thanks for your support.

18 comments:

mirrorshadespete said...

Message sent Rick.

Best,

Peter Blancard on FB

rayhoet said...

I will be dropping a line to Kym Strong. My first question will be if it was a design for BREAST CANCER would they be supporting that?

Anonymous said...

You got it, Rick! I guess the Japanese are squimish about their "privates."

Zymurczar said...

I shot-off an Email...

Dear Toyota Team,

I recently received an email from my fellow beer journalist Mr. Rick Lyke informing me that your team has rejected as inappropriate, the "Pints for Prostates" logo as an entry in your "Sponsafy" promotion. I am very surprised and disappointed by this. You obviously do not understand the reach of the Pint for Prostates movement, which is a true grass-roots movement that is reaching out to men everywhere to get tested through craft beer. Not only is the "Pints for Prostates" message getting out there, it also helps to raising money to find new treatments for prostate cancer.

There is nothing offensive about a pint of craft beer , especially when that pint comes with an important message for men everywhere! The Craft Beer movement also encourages responsible quality drinking versus quantity. Please reconsider your obviously hasty decision and maybe even meditate over it with a nice fresh pint of American Craft Beer!

Cheers!
--
*Rich Ireland
*Beer Columnist
Charleston Gazette
www.wvgazette.com
www.thegazz.com/gblogs/beerstoyou

Karen said...

SERIOUSLY!!!! I find it very educational!!! Men need education too!!!

Walking In My Sleep said...

Clearly, the judges don't understand the importance of early detection for cancer. Go Rick!

Amy said...

I just send a small novel to them. I included statistics and a link to the American Cancer Society's page on prostate cancer.

Great job Rick!!!

Edmond said...

I wonder if the "offensive and inappropriate" message has some thing to do with message that we are talking beer/alcohol. Though Nascar does have some sponsors left that are in the alcohol beverage company they are have slowly been replaced by other sponsors. Toyota, however, may have a policy that prohibits them from promoting any alcoholic beverage or have any symbol as part of their sponsor ships. I am just guessing here.

Danielle Batchelor said...

Sent to Toyota email addresses provided....Can't wait for the response!!!!

To Whom It May Concern:

It was recently brought to my attention that your company denied the entry for the "Pints for Prostates" fantasy car in your "Sponsafy" contest. The reason for denial was cited as "offensive or inappropriate content" in regards to the design of the car.

I have viewed the design for the vehicle's exterior numerous times in an attempt to understand how Toyota may see the vehicle's appearance as offensive or inappropriate. Each time, however, I see nothing but an amazing advertisement for the best message there is: "Take Care of Yourself. Be Healthy. Be Proactive. Invest in Yourself." This car speaks to anyone and everyone who has ever lost a friend or family member to cancer (any kind of cancer, not just prostate cancer). Perhaps you, yourself, know someone whose flame was snuffed too early by this ravage beast of a disease. I know I have lost plenty.

The above message encouraging a healthy lifestyle is what you would be communicating to your current consumers, as well as any prospective clientele your company has yet to gain. I know that I would certainly want to purchase from a company that I knew invested in socially responsible causes and that encouraged me, as a customer, to take care of myself. Simply put, it would show that Toyota cares about people. And if I may be so frank, I believe that given the recent negative media coverage, as well as the speculative state of Toyota on the part of the general public, Toyota would be jumping at any opportunity to showcase the positive attributes of its business.

I am interested to understand Toyota's decision to cast aside the wonderful idea as proposed by Rick Lyke of Pints for Prostates. My hopes are to have you review this information, provide me with an explanation of what was "offensive or inappropriate" and possibly, upon review, reconsider the Pints for Prostates fantasy car.

I thank you in advance for your time and look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,

Danielle Batchelor

Danielle Batchelor said...

Sent to Toyota email addresses provided....Can't wait for the response!!!!

To Whom It May Concern:

It was recently brought to my attention that your company denied the entry for the "Pints for Prostates" fantasy car in your "Sponsafy" contest. The reason for denial was cited as "offensive or inappropriate content" in regards to the design of the car.

I have viewed the design for the vehicle's exterior numerous times in an attempt to understand how Toyota may see the vehicle's appearance as offensive or inappropriate. Each time, however, I see nothing but an amazing advertisement for the best message there is: "Take Care of Yourself. Be Healthy. Be Proactive. Invest in Yourself." This car speaks to anyone and everyone who has ever lost a friend or family member to cancer (any kind of cancer, not just prostate cancer). Perhaps you, yourself, know someone whose flame was snuffed too early by this ravage beast of a disease. I know I have lost plenty.

The above message encouraging a healthy lifestyle is what you would be communicating to your current consumers, as well as any prospective clientele your company has yet to gain. I know that I would certainly want to purchase from a company that I knew invested in socially responsible causes and that encouraged me, as a customer, to take care of myself. Simply put, it would show that Toyota cares about people. And if I may be so frank, I believe that given the recent negative media coverage, as well as the speculative state of Toyota on the part of the general public, Toyota would be jumping at any opportunity to showcase the positive attributes of its business.

I am interested to understand Toyota's decision to cast aside the wonderful idea as proposed by Rick Lyke of Pints for Prostates. My hopes are to have you review this information, provide me with an explanation of what was "offensive or inappropriate" and possibly, upon review, reconsider the Pints for Prostates fantasy car.

I thank you in advance for your time and look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,

Danielle Batchelor

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous! There is a car sponsored by Enzyte and a picture of a beer is offensive? Half of the fans in the stands are drinking---BEER! My father is a prostate cancer survivor, I will be sending an email.

Heather said...

Definitely emailing them as well. If they are concerned about the beer logo, aren't there multiple cars sponsored by beer and other alcohol companies? This design is giving a message! As someone who lost their father to prostate cancer in June (he was only 52), I'm all about early detection and having your PSA checked.

Kevin Smith said...

The following is by no means a defense of Toyota, merely pointing out the direction racing has been attempting to adopt - the racing organizations have been trying to move away from blatant ties to alcohol wherein cars are plastered with alcohol-related images.

Personally, I would think something like this would be considered differently, but that's really the only thing I think they could be considering objectionable.

Callie Otto said...

I am Jake's cousin. I sent off an email. I love what you do!

Anonymous said...

Toyota should have came forward with a full disclosure. Instead of waiting for a huge media blitz and tons of public pressure. I never seen so many car companies having recalls all at the same time. I had no idea my car was affected until I searched on http://www.carpedalrecall.com and found I had a bad Anti Lock control unit on my 2008 Pontiac G8 , So be careful

Anonymous said...

Toyota does not do the "adult beverage thing on their cars or teams"... No Toyota Teams are sponsored by or in any way are allowed to promote drinking adult beverages. That is why they passed on the PFP design... If the logo was the blue cancer ribbon and verbage they probably would have. They dont get it... Oh oh What a Feelin! (like a kick in the groin!) Way to go Toyota!

Rick my teams will support PFP in NHRA Top Fuel Dragster and Top Fuel Funny Car...
let me know...

thx
Dan.

Anonymous said...

I sent off a message Rick.

Brian - Brewer's Best

doug... said...

I sent them both a message. Thanks for all your efforts to get the word out, Rick.