Top Olympic sponsor Toyota pulls Games-related TV ads

Posted at 2:00 AM, Jul 19, 2021

Toyota won’t be airing any Olympic-themed advertisements on Japanese television during the Tokyo Games despite being one of the IOC’s top corporate sponsors.

The extraordinary decision by the country’s top automaker underlines how polarizing the Games have become in Japan as COVID-19 infections rise ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony.

Being a corporate sponsor for the Olympics is usually all about using the games as a platform to enhance the brand. But being linked with a pandemic-era Games may be viewed by some as a potential marketing problem.

Toyota signed on as a worldwide Olympic sponsor in 2015 in an eight-year deal reportedly worth nearly $1 billion.