Toyota Pulls Olympic TV Ads in Japan

    • Toyota became a worldwide Olympic sponsor in an eight-year, nearly $1 billion deal.
    • There is speculation that the company does not want to contribute to the hold COVID-19 has on its home country.

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Japan’s top automaker, Toyota, is pulling Olympics-related television advertisements from its home country during the Tokyo Games.

The company became a worldwide Olympic sponsor in an eight-year, nearly $1 billion deal in 2015.

Tokyo is under its fourth state of emergency, and there’s been a rise in Delta-variant COVID-19 cases — multiple athletes in the Olympic Village have already tested positive for the virus. The Japanese Olympic Committee declared on July 8 that no fans, foreign or domestic, will be allowed to attend.

Toyota is reportedly keen on avoiding any hit to its brand image, as the Japanese public overwhelmingly disapproves of holding the Games amid a pandemic.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda will skip the Games’ opening ceremony, but the company will still provide 3,340 vehicles for transportation and help promote its sponsored athletes.

  • Before the pandemic, Japan saw the largest contributions ever from a host nation’s sponsors — roughly 60 Japanese companies spent more than $3 billion. 
  • Another $200 million was spent for contract extensions after the games were delayed, per Reuters.
  • Canon canceled promotion booths and client entertainment plans earlier this month.

Total costs for the Tokyo Olympics are estimated to reach $25 billion, with Japan losing out on roughly $830 million just for its decision to ban spectators. Reinsurers could pay up to $400 million.