2010 Toyota CamryEnlarge Photo
It's not easy making light of tragic events. Cracking jokes about fatal tornadoes, mudslides, and building collapses is best handled by really good comedians and/or really big idiots. Take a look at the ad at left and guess which category Danish garage door manufacturer Dansk Port Teknik falls into.
In fairness, other companies -- especially automakers -- have attempted to turn Toyota's misfortunes to their advantage. As Bengt Halvorson reported a couple of weeks ago, Ford, Honda, and Hyundai are making big bucks at Toyota's expense, and at least two of them are running promotions to make those earnings even bigger by offering incentives for customers who trade in recalled cars like the 2010 Toyota Camry.
But so far, automakers have been making their Toyota-unfriendly pitches with a degree of decorum, appealing to consumers' serious concerns about vehicle safety. Dansk Port Teknik and its superginormous ad agency JWT, on the other hand, have chosen to play up the brighter side of sudden acceleration (the only problem being that there isn't one). The result is fairly tasteless -- and not in an "OMG, I can't believe Sarah Silverman went there" kind of way, more like an "OMG, I can't believe Michael Richards went there" way.
We don't have any data on where this ad ran, and honestly, it might simply be an attempt to win JWT more attention and more tchotchkes for its trophy wall (as if it needs either). Furthermore, we fully understand that the business world is not an ice cream social, and we're not here to make judgments on what's offensive and what's not -- but if we were, we'd say that this piece, like the salted licorice Danes know and love, is pretty terrible.