Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Saturday, December 06, 2003

Toyota car ads belittle dignity of the Chinese nation

Toyota lately roused resentment from Chinese people when it makes two stone lions, a traditional symbol of power in China, salute and bow to Toyota's Land Cruiser and Prado GX in two ads respectively. The two ads had drawn widespread indignation and criticism from China's netizens.


Toyota apologizes to Chinese consumers for improper ads
Recently, two advertisements put up by Toyota Auto on the net have stirred up by no means little waves. One Toyota advertisement put up on the magazine No 12 of "Auto Fan" is a Toyota auto parking in a hegemonic way in front of the two stone lions. One of the lion holds up its right paw to salute it while the other with its head down, the backdrop of which is a high-rise with the advertisement reading "Hegemonic, you cannot but pay respect to it."

The other advertisement is a "Toyota Land Cruiser" which is pulling a China-made green truck with a steel cable on a snowcapped highland, the photo being taken in Kekexili.

"This is an outrageous advertisement humiliating the Chinese nation!" a net-user friend left a note as follows:

Reappearance of event, stone-lion bowing to "hegemonism"

Another picture by Chinese Internet surfers to show anger
Many net-user friends hold that stone lions mean to symbolize China. The "Toyota Tyrannical" advertisement deliberately made them to salute and bow to a Japanese car. "In consideration of the relations of the Lugouqiao (Marco-polo Bridge), the stone lions on it and the anti-Japanese war one cannot but feel much more enraged." As to the advertisement of the "Toyota Land Cruiser" pulling the truck many people think the picture on the advertisement looks very much like ��the East-wind brand series of trucks made by China and the truck in green bears a resemblance to the Chinese military truck."

Net-users comments: "Advertisements have insulted the feelings of the Chinese people".

Many netizens offered their opinions on the auto-channel of Sina.com, tom and xcar and other specialized websites, holding that the two advertisements of the Toyota Auto Co have insulted the feelings and dignity of the Chinese nation. And some other net-users even uttered overexcited comments.

Toyota Auto Co. "The question is under our consideration."

When the event broke out the reporter got in touch with the Toyota Auto Co. China Agency the other day. A PR miss of the Toyota Auto China Agency said: "The Toyota Auto advertisement is mainly managed and operated by the Toyota Auto Sales and Distribution Co. These days the company really received many such calls in connection with the two advertisements and now the question in put under our consideration."

Advertisement Co. "We can't let the cat out of the bag so far as regards how to solve the problem."

The Shengshi (Flourishing) Great Wall Int'l Ads Co., which worked out and released the two ads acknowledged that they had received quite some inquisition calls An anonymous lady of the company answered: "we've already got to know the advertisement event and the relevant comments on the net. The company has taken a great account of it and is adopting some relevant measures. However, we are now unable to make them known to the public. That's all. That's all." This was followed with a snap of the phone-call. Nevertheless She spoke slowly when she was answering the phone-call.

The "Auto Fan" magazine made an apology to the readers the other day on the net.

As compared to the Toyota Auto Co and Shengshi Great Wall Int'l Ads Co. the "Auto Fan" magazine has already done something by issuing openly an apologetic letter to the readers on the net.

Person in charge of the advertisement department of the "Auto Fan" magazine Shen Ke by name acknowledged when answering the interview of the reporter by saying "the occurrence of a thing as suchlike shows that we are not quite strict on the advertisement issued. And we haven't paid much attention to the pictures of the advertisements and the carelessness betrays that we are lack of high political consciousness."

When questioning about whether the working staff ever sensed the improper pictures of the ads at the initial putting-up of the advertisements Shen Ke apologized effusively: "If we knew it beforehand how could we have put them up? To tell the truth we've got no idea at all that an advertisement could rouse such a strong reaction. Now as some people pointed out that the advertisement implied something "insulting China" so we've got to know the implication behind it. When I first saw the ads I thought that the lion had one paw holding up meant to take a picture of the car. I really haven't got any other sense of it. Our magazine is a fully state-run enterprise and so we have at least a little bit of patriotism. The occurrence of the event is really because we failed to get the sense of it. In the final analysis we should be fully responsible for it. We have only to accept with an open mind the criticism from our readers."

The event-incurring advertisements have been put up in several mediums.

Mr. Shen also told the reporter it was not the first time for the Toyota tyrannical advertisements to be put up on the "Auto Fan" magazine and prior to this they have been published in several other magazines and papers. As to how and why the advertisements on the "Auto Fan" could raise such a strong reaction, he holds that this is possibly that the "Auto Fan" is issued extensively and in great number and "the magazine is issued all over the country and the issuance is approximating 400,000 copies. Now No.12 has all been sold out and it's probably impossible for us to recall them. However, we've already adopted some relevant measures including stopping the further publication of the advertisements on the magazine and an apologetic letter is going to be published in the nest issue of the magazine."

As learned, the "Auto Fan" magazine has of its own accord reported the case to the Industry and Commerce Bureau and should there be any punishment it is willing to accept it.

By People's Daily Online

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Toyota apologizes to Chinese consumers for improper ads 


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