This is a bit of a head-scratcher, especially give the recent troubles that Toyota has been experiencing. You probably already know about my friend and colleague Rick Lyke‘s great campaign, Pints For Prostates, that seeks simply to raise awareness about prostate cancer and encourage men to get tested for it. As a cancer survivor, Lyke is understandably passionate about his cause and has done a lot of good work toward his goals.
As he notes, despite all the Toyota controversy, the car company is, of course, still trying to sell its cars. One marketing scheme they’ve introduced is asking NASCAR fans to “Sponsafy” a race car using an online graphics program. Fan-craeated cars are posted in an online gallery and are voted on, with the winner having their actual car design on the pace car for NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte, NC on May 22, 2010.
Here, I’ll let Rick pick up the story: “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.” So he designed and submitted the car below.
Here’s where things take a turn for the weird. Again, here’s Rick:
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.”
As of this morning, there were 6,390 cars on Toyota’s online gallery but none with a healthy, helpful message to keep men safe from prostate cancer. And the reason for that — which I still can’t quite wrap my head around — is because it’s “offensive” (to whom?) and is “inappropriate content (what exactly?).” Take a look at the design. What do you see? I see a light blue ribbon, the logo (a pint glass with the text “Pints for Prostates” and another light blue ribbon) and the text “Get A PSA Test” in several places. Seriously, WTF!?! If you agree that makes no sense, let’s all e-mail Toyota as Rick suggests. Tell them you don’t find Pints For Prostates inappropriate at all, but you are offended by Toyota’s response to it.