General Motors (GM) has pulled an ad in which a production line robot appears to commit suicide after losing his job with the company following a string of complaints.
The ad, which was first shown in front of 93 million people during the Super Bowl in the US on February 4, was part of a $60m (£31m) campaign to promote GM’s new five-year warranty.
It provoked public outcry from groups including the New York-based American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which claimed the ad was insensitive to people affected by suicide.
A spokeswoman for GM confirms that the ad has been taken off air and off the internet but says that a new version without the suicide scene is being worked on. "We are editing the ad as we speak and it will run again in the near future," she adds.
The ad, which was created by Interpublic Group’s Deutsch in Los Angeles, starts with the robot dropping a bolt while working on a GM assembly line and getting sacked.
He is then seen holding a "Condo for Sale" sign and working at a fast-food restaurant but jumps off a bridge because he finds not working for GM unbearable. The ad featured the strapline: "GM’s 100,000-mile warranty – it’s got everyone obsessed with quality".
Although it turns out to be a dream, the ad was considered inappropriate not only by suicide groups but also because thousands of GM workers have recently been made redundant as part of a huge cost-cutting drive at the company.