Another Ad Pulled Proving America is Officially Insane


Apparently, commercials now cause suicide. You've heard us rail against those cause groups for every conceivable issue and ailment before and we're going to do it again. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has asked GM to yank its Deutsch LA-created Robot commercial in which a dejected robot is fired and commits a fucking dream! For fuck's sake. When will this idiocy end? When will people realize we're talking about advertising here and not brain surgery? When will people get their head out of their asses and laugh when a piece of humor is placed in front of them? It's a a commercial. Hello?

It might be one thing to ask that this ad be pulled because it was illogical and it sucked but to assume a dreaming robot might convince someone to commit suicide" What next, as Catch Up Lady asks, "The Coalition of Flat Chested Women protesting the GoDaddy ads?" OK, so breast size isn't a life-threatening issue but the point is taken.

The group wants GM to pull the ad from all media (Catch Up Lady reports she heard an ABC radio report this morning GM will, in fact, pull the spot) and issue an apology because they feel the ad "suggests a troubling and potentially dangerous message: that suicide is a logical and rational decision should one experience failure or lose their job."

We do not, in any way, belittle suicide as a serious issue (in fact a childhood friend of ours did recently commit suicide) but with every plea one of these cause groups makes - and brands submit to, we move closer and closer to becoming a world full of...oh...inhuman robots devoid of the capability to discern the difference between fiction and reality. We pity the comedian today. Is there any joke that can be told without some cause group calling foul? We're beginning to doubt it.

UPDATE: Apparently, early reports were incorrect or GM has changed its mind. The Detroit News reports GM won't pull the ad and that it is "a story of GM's commitment to quality It is not intended to offend anyone." We're thinking it should still be pulled but for entirely different reasons. It bashes robots which GM uses (illogical) and to poke fun at getting fired doesn't align well with a company famous for lay offs." Hmm. Perhaps these cause groups are right after all.

by Steve Hall    Feb- 8-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Brands, Commercials, Super Bowl 2007   

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The reason for pulling the ad has more to do with GM's recent shuttering of plants, making the robot's "plight" hit a little too close to home for some freshly unemployed GM factory workers.

Posted by: keith on February 8, 2007 10:35 AM

Yeah, I gotta say, for a company that lays of people in the 10s of thousands to make jokes about layoffs is amazingly tasteless.

Posted by: charles on February 8, 2007 11:45 AM

If anyone should be on suicide watch it's the people who saw the Sales Genie spot.

Posted by: makethelogobigger on February 8, 2007 11:55 AM

Perhaps you might have found the ad offensive if your cousin had died by jumping from a bridge?

Posted by: Ed on February 8, 2007 12:05 PM

Perhaps if you had watched the superbowl with your son for 18 years. Perhaps, if he died by suicide last year. Perhaps if you decided to watch in remembrance of him and the joy you shared. And that THING came on, it might not be funny... it might offend... you might consider it callous. Perhaps if you were there you could have come up with something to make my wife stop crying?

Posted by: Scott Fisher on February 8, 2007 12:17 PM

I think America has forgotten to laugh at themselves but there may be reason for that. Our Foreign Policy actions haven't inspired much humor (ridicule and shame is more appropriate) and I think we are all becoming pretty damn defensive about nearly everything as a result - Strictly my humble opinion.

However, perhaps GM should be a bit more sensitive.

Posted by: Bruce DeBoer on February 8, 2007 12:25 PM

Some one I lost used to play football. When I saw that they were stilling airing the superbowl I broke down in tears. How could they be so thoughtless?

Posted by: marc on February 8, 2007 12:48 PM

The Detroit News reports that GM will NOT infact pull the ad, "GM officials said they won't pull or change the ad. It's 'a story of GM's commitment to quality It is not intended to offend anyone,' spokeswoman Ryndee Carney said."

Posted by: Catch Up Lady on February 8, 2007 12:59 PM

The first :25 seconds were brilliant. But suicide isn't funny. It wasn't funny in the GM spot, and it wasn't funny when my wife ripped a plastic bag from my 21-year-old son's face.
How about showing several robots gang-raping another robot. Or a large robot beating a small, helpless robot. Or - how about this-
robots dragging a different-colored robot by a chain.
Some things just aren't funny. And suicide is just one of them.
Pull the spot, GM.

Posted by: Rusty Galle on February 8, 2007 4:53 PM

It's another great example of what is wrong with automotive advertising in the U.S.! The ad in general goes all the way around the block to really say nothing and what it does say is offensive to a bunch of people, or to easily could be. GM needs to dump a bunch of marketing people and apparently an advertising agency. Now I feel much better.

Posted by: roy on February 8, 2007 5:55 PM

the ability for a robot to bring these discussions to light is more than any celebrity could have done.

the stars shine for you.

and they were yellow.

Posted by: nancy on February 8, 2007 6:37 PM

This ad sucked. And I think it's crazy to compare the art of being a comic to shilling for products. You cannot give advertising the same rules as art.

This just looks like their trying to make a buck off of it.

Posted by: Jamie on February 8, 2007 9:06 PM

*ROTGLMHO* @ the Robot ad. I laughed so hard I upchucked my LIL' SMOKIES and avacodo dip. *HIGH FIVES GM* Don't take the ad off. TD for GM!!!!

Posted by: Paul on February 8, 2007 9:13 PM

*ROTGLMHO* @ the Robot ad. I laughed so hard I upchucked my LIL' SMOKIES and avacodo dip. *HIGH FIVES GM* Don't take the ad off. TD for GM!!!!

Posted by: Paul on February 8, 2007 9:14 PM

Not sure anyone really believes the ad will inspire suicides. Rather, it makes light of a serious matter. As others have pointed out, it also seems pretty bizarre that GM would find humor in the firing of an employee, even in a cartoonish sense. The company, after all, has terminated about 30,000 people over the last few years.

The truth is, this is not a matter of an overly sensitive public. Itís about the insensitivity of a dinosaur corporation and its equally clueless advertising agency. Insensitive about the firing of its workers. Insensitive about issues like suicide. Insensitive about the feelings of an international audience.

The most outrageous part? GM insists the spot symbolizes its commitment to quality. Everyone knows GMís commitment to quality is a crock of shit. The sales figures prove it. This commercial, like all GM products, is completely devoid of innovation ó and ironically, it lacks quality.

Posted by: HighJive on February 8, 2007 11:46 PM

When I was in high school we all had to read Dorotyhy Parker. I remember her poem about suicide.

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

-- Dorothy Parker

Now I guess the education system in our country has gone from the classroom to the commercialism in television to the internet. The attention span is shorter and you don't have to sit in class the whole 45 minutes.

Should the commercial be out there or not is a one thing? Should the conversation continue? I think it will.

Posted by: nancy on February 9, 2007 12:50 PM

Flat chests and suicide are not analogous. Rather, try breast cancer and depression. If GM had sought to derive humor from breast cancer in in effort to sell cars, I suspect there would be few defenders.
It's the public's continued lack of knowledge regarding mental health that is exposed by such ads and by the writers/columnists who promote an outdated perception of mental health issues.

Posted by: jc4real on February 9, 2007 1:05 PM

Sorry for hitting the send on that falsely edited version. Here is the corrected copy below. You can delete the previous entry from me.

Breast cancer is a "proud to have survived it disease." You promote that differently with cool stuff like iTunes and yogurt. And every one feels better. Though, I might mention here there are studies that link severe traumatic events to breast cancer, but that's a different discussion that some other corporation might take up in a different commercial.

Well, unless you are a celebrity that gets kudos for going through rehab with flair*, robots and the likes of us just have kudies (as we said when we were young)for talking about this stuff. Course, the pharma industry will surely pick up on something and sell you that for the rest of your life. It makes things easier and all smiles. No need for keenex.

Heaven forbid, we might even consider meeting up with real life people and just working through life itself. Get a life, so to say, but then that of course poses problems. And the risks aren't labeled on the forehead of every participant. Well, not unless you can read minds.

*though, a lot of the humorous ones never make it so far either..thinking of the list of the comedians who now RIP.

Posted by: nancy on February 9, 2007 1:42 PM

Give me a break people. I have had friends and family who passed away from things like drunk driving, carbon monoxide poisoning, motorcycle accidents, etc. Something should be pulled just because it reminds you of a bad situation in your life? That's crazy, because if I took everything around me personally, I would also be sad or upset, and probably want to jump off a bridge.

Here's food for thought, maybe instead of watching so much television and nit-picking on ads or complaining about something else, you should have been looking for signs from you son, friend, or family member that committed suicide.

This is a large country, so a group of a few hundred people may look big on the news, hell, a hundred thousand people looks big on the news, but it still means diddly squat. You can't do anything these days without offending someone, and when a group wins a battle over something, they just keep reaching for more and more. If that happened, this world would suck. I wouldn't even have any yellow robotic arms to laugh at. Get a life.

One more thing... it's a ROBOT! That bridge wasn't that high, and the ad wasn't that long. Just think to yourself, "in the original cut, he finds happiness in the sea, and makes little baby robots until rusting away at an old age of 2000."

Some of you people should join that Disney crusade in the off season and look for sexual inuendos in all Disney films... at least that will give you something else to bitch about until next year.

One more thing... a plastic bag? Are you serious? I know this is going to sound funny talking about suicide victims... but they're nuts! If I was going to kill myself, I would want the most painless thing, and I can't imagine suffication would be that much fun. I think I'd just jump out of a plane without the parachute... at least you could have a little fun, and at the end, not feel a thing.

Posted by: Patrick on February 9, 2007 2:00 PM

Didn't they jump out of a plane last year for beer?

Posted by: nancy on February 9, 2007 2:19 PM

I hated this commercial for one reason - it's been done before. By the Chemical Brothers. Check out their video for 'Believe'.

Posted by: Monica on February 9, 2007 3:24 PM

GM comes to it's senses and will edit robot/suicide ad. Hooray !!

Posted by: jc4real on February 9, 2007 4:02 PM

Serious mental illness is about as funny as the holocaust.

For those who donít think so, imagine if your mother killed herself a month before your wedding. Unfortunately, I donít have to imagine it.

Itís shocking, and embarrassing frankly, that anyone would bring up the "PCĒ debate when it comes to suicide. I wonder if such a person would approve an ad for Diet Coke mocking kids with cancer.

Honestly, you canít write a good ad without mocking tragedy, youíre not a good creative. But more importantly, youíre not a good person.

Posted by: G on February 9, 2007 9:18 PM

The issue isn't whether the spot should have been pulled, rather why was this spot ever made?

Posted by: Pete Best on February 10, 2007 12:03 AM

First: my sincerest condolences to eveyrone who has lost a loved one to suicide.

BUT. What the hell will we have left if we can't say or show anything that another person doesn't like? NOT A GODDAMN THING.

Oh, I'm was fat once. Those McDonald's commercials make it so hard to stay healthy. Oh, I was in a serious accident last month so that Jetta ad shouldn't be on the air. Oh, I just pimped my ride so let's beat the shit out of Peter Stormare. Oh, my wife is a frigid bitch so we gotta stop advertising Viagra and Cialis and all that because what am I supposed to do with my raging boner?

Enough already. Get over yourselves and realize that if we make it so no will ever be offended no one will ever have fun.

Posted by: pat smith on February 10, 2007 2:08 AM

Am i the only one who didn't see this as mocking suicide?

I mean I've had a bunch of crap happen to me lately, and been unemployed for quite a long time. I haven't considered suicide, but I've talked about it.

I actually see this totally opposite, empathizing with a robot, understanding the situations a bit better. Well, yea, that would be me. Course, i cried when my dog died. And if my computer breaks (but it rarely does) I get upset.

I say leave the spot as is and keep talking.

Posted by: You see black, I see white on February 10, 2007 7:21 AM

Hey Yikes...
Don't know if you been living in a cave for the last few years... But no one out there is buying GM products.
Is it the bad cars, or the bad spots?
Is it global warming... Oh no, I forgot... It's Clinton's fault.

Posted by: George Parker on February 10, 2007 1:59 PM

No, the reason I personally find this ad so offensive is that GM has laid off tens of thousands of people in the last couple of years, and this ad makes fun of their struggle and hardship.

I would never buy a GM anything anyway. Quality has not been a priority for some time, and the big car thing should be outlawed too. I've hated them since Roger & Me. Remember the scene where unemployed people were hired to perform as living statues at that POS Roger Smith's box social? This ad is the television version of that same attitude.

Posted by: tom on February 10, 2007 4:38 PM

My comment was more on the general phenomenon of people crying about having ads pulled because they're offended, not about GM specifically. Well, a little bit, but still.

People cry about shit. Money talks. Don't give your money to companies you think do shitty things. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

Posted by: yikes on February 12, 2007 12:51 PM

If you put a red wig on that robot he would look like Ronald MacDonald on the park bench freezing his behind off last Olympics. Better inanimate robots play the saviour role. GM: if you would have only sent the robot to MacD's. But you did, i saw it. No one else noticed? It was there, in the commercial. That taking orders never did work out for long, did it? me, neither.

Course, I wrote an open letter to Ronald last summer praising his abilities to make me think over --posted on AdPulp. Best therapist there was, that frozen clown, well, outside of rolling up your sleeves and getting down to the nitty gritty doing work at home. Funny think, I still don't spend my money there, R Mac, except for the occasional ice cream cone. Hats (wigs) off any way, to you.

Posted by: nancy on February 12, 2007 10:07 PM

If you are MY Nancy (AdScam & AdHurl) That's a damn funny post. How come you only post sexual stuff on my blogs, and Steve gets the funny shit? Although, I can understand that, so don't upset Steve with the truth... We'll keep it our little secret on AdScam...

Posted by: George Parker on February 12, 2007 10:13 PM


Friggin pencil sharperners, george. Friggin pencil sharpeners. Steve, is going to think that we are into some really hard core lead with all that superior spiral cutting action on the wood.


MY? MY? MY? WHAT THE ??????

DONT get possessive with ME.
There's such a machine known as

The A. B. Dick Planetary Pencil Pointer that may not be as happy go lucky as the Climax grinder.

Posted by: nancy on February 12, 2007 10:48 PM

As I said over on AdScam (we have to stop meeting on AdRants) where do you find this shit... How can you know so much about fucking pencil sharpeners?

Posted by: George Parker on February 12, 2007 10:52 PM

How can you NOT know, George? You got one, you take care of it. You learn its history, and how to use it. Don't tell me no one has ever been a passionate user of a pencil sharpener.

Hey, you gotta meet me on whatever turf I'm playing on at the moment. It's just as easy for me to go to adscam if you want. Bring your pencil with. You might have to take notes since you dont got this sharpening thing up to a point yet.

Posted by: nancy on February 12, 2007 11:21 PM

What the fuck are you guys talking about? :-)

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 13, 2007 2:10 AM

Steve, George predicted you would find us out. Oh well, what's another pencil when you have a good sharpener.

What you want to do is sharpen two plain old, regular #2 pencils. Bind the two pencils together with masking tape so that the ends that are sharpened are together, and the eraser ends are bound together. This gives you a new marking implement made from the two pencils, one atop the other. Once you've created your lettering tool, experiment with a hold on the double pencil.
(from Suite 201)

Posted by: nancy on February 13, 2007 7:06 AM

You can't fight it. Nancy comments on both AdScam and AdHurl on a regular basis. Her posts are unfailingly witty, inteligent and weird. It looks like you have now become blessed with her presence. As Queen Victoria once said... "If rape is innevitable, relax and enjoy it!" As for her encyclopedic knowledge and fixation with pencil sharpeners. I have no explaination.

Posted by: George Parker on February 13, 2007 9:34 AM


Why, thank you, sir.

As for fixations with sharpeners, a sharp tip and look where it can lead you.

Posted by: nancy on February 13, 2007 11:20 AM