Financial commitments from television networks, international sponsors and other revenue sources were the biggest hurdle against those calling for the cancellation of the Summer Olympics because of the coronavirus.
Now one of the biggest sponsors, Toyota, has decided to withdraw all of its Olympics-related television commercials during the Summer Games — in Japan.
Japanese media out reports the decision was made because the car manufacturer fears association already-turbulent Summer Games. The automaker believes aligning its brand with an event the vast majority of the Japanese public is against, could be detrimental to the carmaker’s reputation.
Toyota Says No To Summer Olympics Ads in Japan
According to media reports, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda and other senior executives will not be attending the Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23.
Toyota was planning to run a series of TV ads in Japan featuring the Olympic athletes whom the company sponsors.
Toyota has particularly increased its marketing in the quickly electric vehicle market, with plans to offer approximately 70 electrified models by 2025.
According to the manufacturer’s information released at the Auto Shanghai 2021 expo in China, the new offerings will include 15 fully electric vehicles. Several will carry the carmaker’s new designation “BZ.” It stands for Beyond Zero.
Collectively, five dozen Japanese companies spent more than $3 billion to sponsor the Tokyo Olympics, the largest contribution from an Olympic host nation’s businesses ever.
With Tokyo under its fourth state of emergency amid a rise in Delta variant COVID-19 cases, public concern remains high that hosting an event involving tens of thousands of athletes, officials and journalists entering the country from around the world will endanger the lives of local residents.
Olympic organizers reported more than 25 positive coronavirus tests over the weekend among people who had traveled to Japan for the Games — including two athletes and one organizer staying within the Olympic village, where thousands of participants will soon congregate.
Toyota in the United States is not adjusting any marketing and advertising plans for the Summer Olympics.
“The media plan for Toyota’s Olympic and Paralympic global ad campaign is managed by individual countries and regions,” read a statement from Toyota Motor North American..
“In Japan, the local Toyota office previously decided not to air the campaign out of sensitivity to the COVID-19 situation in that country. In the U.S., the campaign has already been shown nationally and will continue to be shown as planned with our media partners during the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
In a poll released Monday by the Asahi newspaper, 68 percent of respondents said they doubted the ability of Olympic organizers to control coronavirus infections, while 55 percent said they were opposed to the Games going ahead as planned.
Only slightly more than 20 percent of the Japanese public has been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
In addition to TV advertising, many of Japan’s major Olympic sponsors were planning to stage large-scale on-the-ground marketing activities to drum up enthusiasm for their brands amidst the event’s excitement. Those plans were laid to waste two weeks ago, though, when Olympic organizers announced that spectators would be banned from almost all Olympic venues.
Fifteen Japanese companies, including Asahi Breweries — the official beer of the Tokyo Olympics — paid about $135 million each to become Tokyo 2020 Gold Partners, the most expensive tier of sponsorship offered to local companies for a single Games.