by Alan Schwarz
The New York Times
January 21st 2011
A mother worried “about my son playing football.” Two children colliding helmet-to-helmet — with superimposed crashing sounds and force lines rippling from their heads — drove home her fears.
Unveiled by Toyota in November, the television commercial highlighted the carmaker’s decision to share crash research with scientists studying football concussions, and was an explicit reminder of football’s recent controversies regarding concussions.
So explicit, it turns out, that the N.F.L demanded that Toyota alter the 30 second commercial, and Toyota promptly did. Now, the commercial — which originally ran last November but is now running in its edited form — has the mother worrying instead “about my son playing sports.” The helmet collision has been removed. A spokeswoman for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Zoe Ziegler, said in an interview that the changes were made at the N.F.L.’s insistence. If Toyota did not change the ad, she said, the league had threatened to curtail or end the carmaker’s ability to advertise during games. (more…)