A new Toyota Hilux commercial which attracted backlash on social media will no longer be screened, effective immediately.
Toyota New Zealand made the announcement on Sunday saying the decision reflected feedback from members of the public who had been offended.
In the ad, animals are shown to look forward to death at the hands of hunters if it means they get to ride on the back of a Hilux.
If you wish to see the offending advert, you can watch it here.
Managing director and chief executive officer Alistair Davis said the company apologised for the offence caused. “We’ve listened and we’ll stop screening the ad. The public and in particular Toyota’s customers are the cornerstone of our business and we’ve been closely monitoring the ad’s response and felt the groundswell of detractors was growing.”
Toyota said the animals portrayed in the latest Hilux advertisement were regularly and sustainably hunted and fished except for the possum, which was a familiar pest.
But Davis said some viewers were genuinely worried about the message the advertisement sent. “So for that reason we have decided to stop screening it.”
Reaction on the company’s Facebook page ranged from complaints about the ad to complaints about the “PC brigade” winning yet again.
Toyota said it had a history of using animals in amusing situations as part of its advertising campaigns and the company always “ensures its ads are filmed responsibly”.
The company stressed that no real animal images were used in the advertisement and the animals were all CGI animated characters.