This ill-timed Toyota campaign says it all. "WE SEE BEYOND CARS."
Global companies have many responsibilities and must respond to pressure from all sides. They have to be politically aware... attune to cultural nuance... and nimble enough to shake-and-bake when rivals block their way and governments shake them down.
But one thing above all: Global corporations have to do their jobs – stick to their knitting, keep their heads down, dance with the girl they brung, and not take their eyes off the ball. Why do you think there are so many cliches to express this one point? Because taking care of business (there's another one) is essential no matter how many distractions fly at you.
For the good people of Toyota, the JOB was to make good, reliable cars. Something/some things distracted them – "THE GREENER TOMORROW"? And they botched it... You can see the symptoms in this ad. All pious and proud about something-or-other... featuring a non-car instead of a car-car. The car outline pictured here has no brakes and no gas pedal.
It will take years to repair the damage to Toyota's reputation. "$23 million every day researching future technologies" reads the ad copy. I don't want to pile on or snicker at the irony. But the future for Toyota is here now. It ain't sparkling green. It's ominously cloudy.