Toyota, one of the prominent sponsors of the Olympics, has decided against airing any Olympic-themed advertisements on Japanese television when the games will be broadcasted. This unconventional decision is underlining the polarization of the games in Japan as covid-19 cases are on the rise. Toyota Chief Communications Officer Jun Nagata stated, “There are many issues with these Games that are proving difficult to be understood”.
In addition to not airing advertisements during the Tokyo Olympic Games on television, there will also be an absence of the company founder’s grandson at the games. The Chief Executive of Toyota, Akio Toyoda will not be attending the opening ceremony of the games even though there are around 200 athletes that are affiliated with Toyota and are participating in Olympic games and Paralympic games. Nagata has assured that the company will be continuing to support the athletes affiliated with them.
Generally, events like the Olympics or any other big events are considered great opportunities for brand promotion and are used as platforms to enhance the brand. But after the pandemic, linking the company’s name with games that are being opposed by many people can be a big problem for potential marketing.
Tokyo Olympics was supposed to happen in 2020 but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was delayed and is now happening in 2021. Many public surveys have reflected that the Japanese people are concerned about the games taking place even though there is a rise in covid-19 cases. Many people have protested the Olympics.
The spokesperson for Toyota says that the company is passionate about the games and will support the players. In Japan, Toyota is one of the most trusted brands. Given the mixed sentiment of Japanese people towards the games happening in the state of emergency, according to the spokesperson for Toyota, not airing advertisements may be a way of conveying the company’s message to the people.