This paper will examine why two advertisements of TOYOTA experienced failure in China in November, 2003.
TOYOTA hired S&S, an advertising company based in China, to promote its Land Cruiser and Prado models that were manufacture in China domestically last year. According to the market plan of TOYOTA, S & S designed two print advertisements that were launched in China.
As confirmed by TOYOTA, S & S created an image for Prado based on its Chinese translation "Ba Dao" (Arbitrariness) because the pronounce Prado sounds like "Ba Dao". In the print media advertisement, S & S designers placed a white Prado in the center of the picture and put the CBD (center business district) as background. In addition, on the left hand side of the car, there are two stone lion statues. One of these has raised its right paw, in a gesture like a soldier saluting his general. The other stone lion bowed to Prado.
Next to that, there is a subtitle saying, "Before Prado, you have to obey." (See the picture)
The other advertisement shows a scenario where people are using Land Cruiser as a vehicle to help them to fight against the poachers who kill Tibetan antelope in the remote desert area. In the picture, it is shown how Land Cruiser has helped the rangers to successfully beat the poachers who shoot Tibetan antelope. Behind the Land Cruiser there is a green colored truck. (See the picture). The subtitle of the ad is something like "without Land Cruiser you cannot fight against the poachers"
Those two advertisements were placed in late November last year in several key trade media and Internet. As soon as the advertisements were debuted, the Chinese consumers immediately expressed negative feelings and began to boycott TOYOTA cars. At the same time, many media...