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Late night comedy drives PR crisis for Toyota May 2, 2010

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,

Toyota’s series of recalls concerning faulty acceleration systems has been labeled one of the greatest PR disasters of all time for corporations its size. It got there, however, with the help of vicious jokes on late night comedy shows. David Letterman, many say, will be a major footnote in the history of the scandal, for featuring skits about Toyota’s CEO. Letterman’s fake Akio Toyoda would start many shows with an apology so sincere that some audiences started clapping…until he exploded in a series of attacks on Americans, Letterman, and many others. The acts were so funny that the bruised corporation became a running gag, even after it apparently presented an effective solution to address the defects.

To see the act yourself, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What’s the nature of the audience for late night comedy shows?

2.  What impact might effective, and hilarious, portrayals of those in trouble have on a wrong-doer’s attempt to repair their image?

3.  What other companies, or people, have had their reputation ruined by late night skits?



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