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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Toyota Motorsports and Greg Thome (email@example.com) of Toyota Corporate Communications. Use the subject line "Race the Pints for Prostates Car."
Thanks for your support.