Subject: [cwj 151] Jesse Jackson accuses Toyota of racist ads
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 12:24:42 -0700
Seq: 151

Thursday 24 May 2001 

Jesse Jackson accuses Toyota of racist ads 

TORRANCE, California (AP): Rev Jesse Jackson threatened a boycott against
automaker Toyota on Wednesday, accusing the company of using racist
advertising while excluding blacks among its dealers, board of directors,
and advertising teams.

Jackson was outside of Toyota's headquarters in Torrance to protest what he
called a racist ad campaign for the company's RAV4 sport utility vehicle.

The ad was placed on free postcards and distributed in nightclubs and
coffeehouses. The card, which Toyota discontinued May 14, shows a close-up
of a dark-skinned man's mouth with an image of a gold RAV4 on one tooth.

"The only thing missing is the watermelon," Jackson said after meeting with
Toyota officials.

Toyota has defended the ad campaign and said it was aimed at a "young and
very trendy audience" with an emerging trend called tooth art.

Don Esmond, senior vice president and general manager for the Toyota
division of Toyota Motor Sales USA, apologized Wednesday for the postcards.

He said that, unlike print and television ads, he didn't see the postcards
before they were released. Had he seen the postcards, he wouldn't have
approved them.

Toyota also said that it ended the postcard campaign out of concerns that
it might promote a negative image to some. The company insisted it made the
move before it had heard from Rainbow/PUSH.

This wasn't the first time Toyota has published offensive ads, said
Cosandra Calloway, an outside publicist for Rainbow/PUSH.

In 1998, Toyota ran a print ad in Jet magazine with a caption that read
"unlike your last boyfriend, the Corolla goes to work every morning."

After that ad was pulled, Calloway said, Rainbow/PUSH received assurances
from Toyota that such ads wouldn't reappear.

"We and the publisher of Jet made an official apology to the magazine's
readers and measures were taken to ensure further errors wouldn't occur,"
Toyota spokeswoman Diana DeJoseph said on Wednesday.

Jackson said there were too few black and Hispanic dealers on Toyota lots
compared to those of rivals Ford and General Motors. He called for at least
part of Toyota's $470 million advertising budget to go to minority-owned
advertising firms.

Jackson said that he hoped that Toyota would address those issues by June
20 or he would call for a boycott of the company. He added that
Rainbow/PUSH would sponsor information pickets of the auto manufacturer in
10 major US cities in the coming weeks. (AP)

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