NBC Universal's Telemundo group has pulled a satiric video suggesting recent Toyota accidents were caused not by mechanical issues, but drivers distracted by a Dominican woman's voluptuous "booty." Complaints from Toyota persuaded Telemundo to yank the spoof, which was on the mun2 Web site and featured close-ups of the 26-year-old model bent over.
Oddly, Toyota was unknowingly running pre-roll spots that sometimes appeared before the video -- as well as banner ads surrounding it. Toyota has removed all ads from the site, but Telemundo said it is in talks to bring them back.
At one point, the spoof offered a photo of Toyota CEO Akido Toyoda, next to a comment in which he expressed a rather crude appreciation for the posterior of the real-life model, Rosa Acosta.
"For the record, I would hit that in a second," the quote read.
Telemundo stated it "decided that the video was insensitive to the current client situation and removed it." It added that the video was "created in the spirit of a parody and was never intended to offend any of our clients."
A Toyota representative said the ad buy appeared to be part of a run-of-site purchase, and suggested the automaker didn't know exactly where it would run on the mun2 site. In a statement before the Telemundo action, Toyota said: "We do review the content of the sites which we run ads on, and will remove the ad from this section of the site."
The Spanish-language programmer said no other advertiser complained. Procter & Gamble also ran pre-roll ads before the video, while Wrigley had banner ads for Skittles surrounding it.
Toyota banners for its Yaris brand could be found throughout the site -- holamun2.com -- prior to the video coming down. Telemundo's removal of the video highlights why some marketers are loath to advertise online if their ads will be rotated. The holamun2.com sales team made the deal with Toyota.
The video, which carried the double entendre name "Dangerous Curves," ran for about two-and-a-half minutes and apparently debuted in May. The mun2 cable network targets bilingual Hispanics in the 18-to-34 demo, who may be less sensitive to the content than the advertisers.
The removal of the video comes at a delicate time for both Toyota and NBC Universal. Toyota has been grappling with a PR nightmare as gas pedals have allegedly become stuck and caused accidents. On Thursday, the carmaker acknowledged that engines have been halting with vehicles in motion.
NBCU and Comcast are looking for government approval for a proposed joint venture. The pair announced this week an agreement with several Hispanic groups to provide greater opportunities for Latinos within the new company.
The satiric mun2 video was a faux news report that might fit on the "Weekend Update" segment on "Saturday Night Live." It showed "scientists" concluding that young men attracted to "Latinas and round booties" were repeatedly crashing Toyotas because they were focused on Rosa Acosta's backside and not the road.
One man involved in a crash said he "came face to face with [Acosta's] ass" and was "mesmerized," causing him to wreck. The scientists also said: "Even (Toyota) Prius drivers -- not generally linked to masculinity -- have fallen victim to Rosa Acosta-triggered BS or booty spell."
Acosta, who isn't shy about wearing scanty attire, is known for appearing in more than 20 music videos. She was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States four years ago. She is one of holamun2.com's "video vixens" and is appearing in a current video about the World Cup teams on the site.
In 35 million-plus homes, the mun2 cable network falls within the portfolio of NBCU's Telemundo Communications Group. Programming is in English and Spanish; "Dangerous Curves" was in English.
This week, mun2 announced it has moved to another phase of its rebranding efforts, building off the tagline "you're on." The network said holamun2.com will "incorporate images of its audience to surround all online content" to increase interactivity.
Unique visitors to the site came in at 216,000 in May, according to comScore, which was up 18% compared to the same month a year ago. But page views dropped 32% to 1.7 million.