It's always good to see companies with lots of money choosing to help out charity, but we're not sure Toyota's latest stunt is the way to go about it.
Rather than just -- you know -- donating some money to Crisis At Christmas, or even donating some money while talking about its products, Toyota has:
- Made a really ugly wrapping paper to promote one of its cars
- Produced said wrapping paper
- Put it online for people to buy
In other words, rather than Toyota donating, you're donating. By buying horrible wrapping paper that happens to be an ad for the new Supra sports car.
"The paper, produced in a limited run of just 500 rolls, has the same camouflage body wrap design that has adorned the Supra prototype since its first appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the summer.
The dazzle pattern features the red, white and black colours of Toyota Gazoo Racing and a subtle “A90” reference that enthusiasts will recognise as the new car’s chassis code."
I'm sorry, subtle? Do you want to look that up, Toyota?
This 'subtle' design costs £5 for four sheets. Which is a rip-off, although we guess that's what you're supposed to do with wrapping paper.
It is at least recycled and recyclable.
They've only made 500 tubes of wrapping paper, which means a maximum donation of £2,500. Considering they've gone to the effort of sending out a press release and making a video, we suspect they've spent considerably more than that on hyping up how generous they're being.
Only people in the UK can buy the paper, and if you donate more than £5, the rest goes to Crisis. But honestly, we'd like to see what Toyota could come up with if they were actually focusing on the 'helping charity' part of this equation and not the 'selling more cars' bit.
In fairness, it could be that they're making a sizeable donation themselves, but there's absolutely no mention of it in the press release, whereas they do spend quite a lot of time talking about their new sports car. We've contacted them and will update if we hear back.
Update: Toyota UK has confirmed they're not making a donation but have covered the costs of making the wrapping paper. They also pointed out that the full £5 (of your money) goes to Crisis, and that originally they were going to give the paper away for free, but then decided to ask for charity donations instead. They would also like you to know they have lots of other charity things. None of this particularly improves the situation, in our view, but we're happy to let you make up your own minds there.
If you'd like to help Crisis At Christmas without buying a £5 paper advert, you can donate or volunteer here. £5 given directly to Crisis helps a homeless person and their dog, while you can reserve a space for a homeless person at Crisis this Christmas for £28.18.