Major Car Manufacturer Pulls Advertising From Tokyo Olympics Amid Backlash to Games

by Matthew Memrick

Major carmaker and Olympic sponsor Toyota pulled its advertising out of the Tokyo Olympics this week. The car manufacturer made the decision in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Yahoo! News reported that the company dropped its Olympics-related TV ads at home.

Local pressure about holding the Olympics has increased over the coming months. Earlier this month, confidence in a safe and secure Olympics was very low, according to news polls. As a matter of fact, a majority of the country did not want the already-delayed games to go on. At the same time, also reported that only 22-percent of Japan is vaccinated.

What’s more, event organizers have had some stressful moments. reported that over 100 athletes have tested positive for COVID-19. Some 60,000 athletes, staff, and media are traveling to and through Japan in order to attend the Olympics.

Furthermore, no fans can attend the events. Also, Japan has strict measures about team participation.

Backlash to Tokyo Olympics Could Hurt Toyota’s Brand

Tokyo already had limited business operations during the games.

Tokyo’s Waseda University assistant professor Ben Ascione said the Games have become a problem for the country’s sponsors. Many sponsors are trying to get away from the event. They feel the negatives outweigh the positives at the moment. With fans not coming, companies are unable to give out tickets.

Ascione told that many Japanese companies are taking a “restrained” approach to TV advertising. Additionally, company executives were staying away from media attention.

On Friday, Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda did not attend Friday’s Opening Ceremony.

According to the Associated Press, Toyota sponsors nearly 200 Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Toyota officials said that support will not end.

As an International Olympic Committee partner, Toyota has already committed to nearly $1 billion. That global deal started in 2015.

Ultimately, recently reported that Japanese corporate sponsors have put nearly $3 billion into the Games. It was the largest-ever amount contributed by domestic companies.

A statement backed the company’s decision to advertise worldwide.

However, the Olympics are the world’s second-most valuable sports events brand behind the Super Bowl.

Toyota’s Advertising Still Big In the World

Toyota’s global reach can be seen in many countries. In the United States, advertising is a necessity.

According to, Toyota has been one of the United States’ top-selling brands. The company sold more than 2 million vehicles per year for six years in a row. Toyota cars are built in several states including Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi. 

The automaker built nearly 2 million vehicles at vehicle assembly plants in North America in 2018. 

Furthermore, the Tokyo Olympic games run until Aug. 8.