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Toyota edited ad after NFL objected

The depiction of a helmet-to-helmet football collision was removed from spots running with the league's games and other programming.

January 22, 2011|By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times

The NFL has called Toyota Motor Corp. for a personal foul.

Responding to a complaint from the professional football league, the automaker removed a scene depicting a helmet-to-helmet collision from a TV commercial that explained how software Toyota developed to evaluate car crashes is being applied to football injuries.

"The overall tone and tenor of the spot was unfair," said Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman.

The commercials have aired since November in two forms, said Zoe Zeigler, a Toyota spokeswoman. Toyota places the edited version of the ad, without the helmet-to-helmet hit, in NFL games and other NFL programming, but continues to air the unedited version elsewhere.

The spot shows a mother driving a Toyota car and talking about how she worries for her son who plays football. The woman explains that Wake Forest University is studying football collisions using software developed by the automaker to evaluate injuries from car accidents.

The commercial then explains that Toyota makes its technology available to solve problems outside the automotive world under what it calls the Ideas for Good initiative. It shows a variety of football scenes, none involving NFL or professional players.

"It is not at all unusual for us to work with advertisers that feature football in their ads," McCarthy said. "Companies recognize the value of an association with the NFL. Toyota is a sponsor of several of our clubs and a major advertiser in our sport."

He said the NFL objected to the way Toyota used the issue of sports-related concussions in an automobile advertisement.

Concussions have become a source of controversy in the NFL.

"It is unfortunate that the NFL was not pleased with the commercial, but we are still happy to be doing this research," Zeigler said.

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