Sunday, February 18, 2007

GM urged to pull suicidal robot ad

Thursday, February 08, 2007
GM urged to pull suicidal robot ad
Eric Morath / The Detroit News

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention isn't amused by General Motors Corp.'s Super Bowl ad depicting a despondent robot leaping off a bridge in a dream sequence, and demanded Wednesday that the automaker pull it off the air.

Calling the ad insensitive, the organization also wants GM to remove it from its Web site.

The "ad is insensitive to the tens of millions of people who have lost loved ones to suicide," said Robert Gebbia, executive director of the foundation. "The ad also suggests a troubling and potentially dangerous message that suicide is a logical and rational decision should one experience failure or lose their job."

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.

The commercial opens with a cute, yellow robot dropping a bolt in the factory. The robot is fired for his mistake and left to seek service jobs such as a speaker at a fast-food drive-in. In despair, the robot jumps off a bridge, but then wakes up and realizes it's a dream as an announcer says, "Everyone at GM is obsessed with quality."

On Wednesday, the robot and a video of the ad were prominent atop GM's Web site,

This week, Snickers pulled its Super Bowl ad after several groups called it homophobic.

Art Reyes, president of United Auto Workers Local 651 in Flint, said, "(The ad) is absolutely disgusting." Local 651's membership has been cut in half in the past 18 months because of job cuts. "Their way of life was destroyed. This just completely glosses over their hardships," said Reyes.

"What General Motors has been doing by tapping people on the shoulder to get rid of them, whole plants at a time, it wasn't because of a dropped bolt."

© Copyright 2007 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.


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