Thursday, February 08, 2007

Group: pull GM "suicide" ad

By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

Yet another Super Bowl marketer is swimming in hot water.

depressed GM robotThe American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has sent a letter to General Motors (GM) criticizing an ad that shows a perfectionist assembly line robot dreaming about jumping off a bridge after dropping a bolt. The group said the spot may encourage people to consider suicide as a solution to their problems. The group demanded that GM apologize, not air the spot again and remove it from its website.

"We wouldn't see this ad around cancer or heart disease," says Robert Gebbia, executive director. "Why's it OK to make fun of mental illness or depression?"


GM has "no plans" to drop the robot spot, spokeswoman Ryndee Carney says. The ad currently is scheduled to air next during the Feb. 25 Academy Awards broadcast on ABC, she says.

GM has received "more than a handful (of complaints) but not a tsunami," she says. She says GM "did not intend to offend anyone."

GM should drop the ad now, says former Energy secretary Donald Hodel, who also was Interior secretary in the Reagan administration. Hodel's teenage son committed suicide 23 years ago.

"They should never have run that commercial, and they shouldn't run it again," says Hodel, who says he and his wife were shocked when they saw it. "If I had a child who committed suicide some time after watching that ad, I'd seriously consider consulting a lawyer and suing GM."