Friday, March 11, 2005

Toyota manga concerns children's advocacy group

UK's aptly named Ethical Corporation Magazine has reaction to yesterday's item about Toyota using a "manga-style comic book" inserted in a children's magazine to help build its brand in the Asian-Pacific region.

The manga, according to K-Zone magazine editor Kathryn Wakelin, is about a futuristic car called the G-Unit. Toyota's branding will be featured on the front and back covers, as well as inside.

This makes Jane Roberts, president of Young Media Australia, a little uncomfortable: "We have real concerns that children are being recognised as consumers who have influence in families over holidays, food and so on. ... It's just another example of how advertising is by-passing the gate-keepers, such as parents and teachers."

Wakelin, of course, sees things differently, drawing a distinction between the Toyota manga and "nag factor" advertising, in which companies target kids so they will pester their parents to buy a product.

"If it was a brochure we'd be guilty," she says.