NFL and Toyota have come to an agreement to cut out the head-to-head collisions in a commercial promoting vehicle safety for Toyota passengers.  The NFL, which has–of late–been feverishly protecting its brand from the public focusing on the inherent violent nature of its game, censored the Japanese car manufacture’s befuddled marketing attempt to show that they are concerned with protecting people, particularly adolescents, from head injuries.

NFL executives reportedly saw the add on Monday Night Football telecast. Consequently, the NFL called the automaker to complain and explain that they would have to pull the add from all future NFL broadcasts, if the ad was not altered to protect the image of their league.

Tim Morrison, a corporate marketing manager, spoke on behalf of the Japanese auto-producers to Rueters and offered this insight into what went on behind the scenes, “The NFL saw it on Monday Night Football and the next morning we got the call,”

And in apparently no time, with a few quick edits, Morrison added, “It was just ‘please, don’t show it,’ so we just tweaked it and took the image out.”

So the image is out of the add, but the violence is not going anywhere in the game of football.  Image is everything in the corporate world, and the NFL spends plenty of money to make sure the public does not understand the full extent of health risks taken by athletes on any level of competition.

The game is as popular as ever, but in the same token, it is as dangerous as ever.  Head injuries are increasing every year, and the long term effects of repeated “small” concussions are not causing the stir they should be across the Pop Warner and High School leagues–where children’s neurological safety should be the number one priority, since their skulls are still maturing.

Most people assume the debilitating risks of sending their children to play football, or any other contact sport, but when the risks outweigh the rewards, the only short-term winners are people who make money off the players.  In relation to the car industry, we all take the responsibility that driving poses a huge risk in comparison to any other form of traveling, but considering the necessity of a automobile to feed one’s family and earn a living, especially when one lives in a suburb and works in the city, the risks, at least, are somewhat balanced.

Football is neither a necessity nor reward for the players who, in a majority of instances, trade short-term earning power for lifetime pain and suffering.

In the case of Toyota, which comes out of this deal seen as a benevolent corporate partner that really just wants to shed light and help a problem plaguing football and the auto industry, they make the case, along with researchers at Wake Forest University, that through the “Ideas for Good” marketing stratagem, they have finally found a way to use humans for vivisection.

What a brilliant way to look at humans–especially children who, for the most part, have no choice in the matter–and set up a controlled setting–similar to what most animals are subjected to in our university science laboratories, which are always marketed to us as places that do research for “the common good” of society.

Indeed–in the eyes of the NFL, Toyota, and the Wake Forest science department–it seems humans and animals are more similar than we are led to believe; most of us will continue to do things we are fully aware are risky, but we take those chances anyway because we are not privy to undesired outcome of the social experiment.

Should the NFL have banned/edited the commercial?

Check out Toyota’s commercial here


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