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What Transpires Behind the Toyota Story?

Toyota Motor has obtained great public relations last week since three of Korea's major dallies namely the Chosun IIbo, the Dong-A IIbo, and the JoongAng IIbo has released headline stories about the Japanese automaker's Lexus plant in Japan. But Media Onul or Media Today which is a KBS TV show that examines issues in the media, has refuted the stories saying that it's being too similar.

As a matter of fact, a headline story like that carried in a major newspaper is much more efficient in reaching consumers as compared to dozens of ads amounting to millions of won each. Last June 8, the current largest automaker in the world and producer of top-of-the-line Toyota coil springs, Toyota Motors has invited 53 journalists from 44 Japanese and foreign companies for a publicity event for its Lexus . All the journalists were based in Tokyo. They were requested to gather near the exit of Toyohashi Station in Aichi Prefecture where the plant is located. The one-way trip took an hour and 24 minutes from Tokyo by bullet train and the round trip fare was 17,000 yen or W127,000.

The journalists themselves shouldered the fare, Toyota for its part provided a bus from the station to the plant, the bus trip took about 30 minutes for which Toyota paid for the fuel.

At the bus were boxes on each seat containing a sandwich, fruit, and a bottle of mineral water. It was a lunch box from Toyota, the very same kind you get from convenience store for about 500 yen or W3,700. And if its lunch box cost about 600 yen or W4,500 including the mineral water, Toyota must have spent about 31,800 yen or W238,500 for the lunch of the reporters.

At the press conference was a table laden with Lexus caps. Each of these caps cost approximately 2,000 yen or W17,000 and if ever each of the journalists took a cap it would cost Toyota 106,000 yen or W795,000. Totaling all the expenses of Toyota for the said publicity event it will reach W1 million to bring the journalists out to it plant and that doesn't include yet the additional amount paid by the automaker to present its car and its own employees. But of course, the journalists could have shouldered those expenses but Toyota preferred to take the responsibility of paying for the whole expenses.

And in fairness to Toyota's officials they didn't forced any journalists to write stories in favor of the automaker. The Korean journalists were not also seated together and didn't compare notes just to ensure that their stories would become headliners as assumed by President Roh Moo-hyun.

After the visit at Toyota's plant the three Korean dallies presented their stories on the same day in a similar way maybe for the same reason. That very same day the union of Hyundai Motor which is always playing catch up with Toyota in the global market went rallying to oppose the Korea-US free trade agreement.

The Media Onul reported that the "conservative media companies" shares the same view which just makes the KBS TV accurately right.

About The Author Kaye Leery is has a degree in Information Technology. She enjoys her profession as an IT consultant. She is also passionate about writing and plans to pursue a Creative Writing workshop in Iowa.
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