[Beijing] Toyota Motor Corp. has dropped Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi
as the creative agency for its Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser Prado sport utility vehicles in China after a print campaign that broke late last year stirred up painful war memories, said an agency executive familiar with Toyota. In one ad, two stone lions, Chinese symbols of authority, salute as a Prado passes. Another shows a Toyota Land Cruiser towing what appears to be a Chinese military vehicle. Some consumers have interpreted the ads as references to Japan's occupation of China during World War II, which remains a sensitive subject between the neighboring Asian countries. The campaign has been withdrawn and Toyota has offered a public apology. FAW Toyota Motor Sales Co., a Beijing-based joint venture between Toyota and China FAW Group, will now handle advertising for Land Cruiser and Prado through Delphys, an in-house Toyota marketing services agency. Saatchi will continue to handle Toyota's Terios model in China, and Vios and Corolla remain at Japanese agency Dentsu.