Talk about your mixed messages. Embattled Toyota, trying to reassure the public that it’s concerned about safety issues and will fix its cars that have been found to have a potentially deadly acceleration problem, has pulled TV ads off TV stations as a punishment for reporting the story, ABC News reports.
The ads were pulled from ABC affiliates in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. Those states have 173 Toyota dealers that make up Southeast Toyota. The ad agency used by Southeast Toyota is 22Squared in Atlanta.
According to the ABC News article, the ad agency "told ABC affiliates last week that the shift was due to ‘excessive stories on the Toyota issues.’ The dealers shifted their commercial time buys to non-ABC stations in the same markets, ‘as punishment for the reporting,’ according to an ABC station manager."
The agency tried to talk Southeast Toyota out of the move, the story says, adding that "ABC News and [investigative reporter Ross began reporting on the problem of ‘runaway Toyotas’ last November in a series of stories that preceded the large recalls ordered by the company, and apologies for quality shortcomings as well as misstatements about the extent of the defects."
The president of Southeast Toyota did not return ABC News’ calls by the time ABC News ran the story.
–Allison J. Waldman and Chuck Ross