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Toyota’s NHL Sponsorship Conjures Images of Sliding Out of Control

Toyota promotes its new hockey-stop brakes

I went to an L.A. Kings game last week, which is always fun because it’s way more preferable to watch an NHL game alone in a quiet arena. It’s good to have a ten-to-one player to fan ratio at sports, so glad the NHL’s investment of hockey in the Southland is finally paying off.

The most striking thing to me about the game though was how much Toyota was featured as a major sponsor. Doesn’t sliding on ice with difficulty in stopping and crashing into the boards seem like a bad association for Toyota right now?

In fact, there was actually a questionable hit where a player was driven face-first into the glass/windshield directly above the Toyota logo. He limped off the ice with blood pouring down his face while sporting his new pair of permanent glasses.

To make matters worse, the intermission show between the periods was not only sponsored by Toyota, but featured the logo prominently in the competition. Two players, both sliding and falling and hurting themselves because they had to walk on ice without traction – thanks Toyota – had to take shots from various distances.

But each distance was marked by the word Toyota spelled out across the ice. So one shot was from the T, then the O and so on. Whichever one missed first, lost, and would be branded the Toyota loser of the night.

The thing was though, each letter was highlighted and fans were uged to yell out the letter as the players moved along. Maybe a decent idea on paper, but it resulted in thousands of people screaming a trailed-off letter in Toyota’s logo. So instead of a brainwashed arena of new car drivers, you had the “O” highlighted in Toyota, with a bunch of people yelling, “Whoa! Whoa!” You might as well have each letter stand for something, like, “O! As in, Oh shit, we’re gonna die!” “A! As in Aaaaahhhhhh!”

Thanks Toyota, and thanks NHL. I want my money back.

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