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October 13, 2015

GM will edit robot suicide commercial

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 11th 2007 11:55AM
GM robot commercialGM has agreed to edit a commercial that premiered during the Super Bowl which shows a despondent assembly-line robot contemplating suicide. Earlier this week, GM had said it would not remove the ad, despite complaints from a national suicide prevention group.

The commercial features a robot that drops a screw. Because of GM's high quality controls, it's forced to leave the plant, take up several other part time jobs, and finally it jumps off a bridge, only to wake up in the plant and reveal that the whole thing was a dream sequence.

The thing is, the ad's not funny. You sympathize with the robot, not with the evil GM workers who threw it out on the street. I can't really see this commercial selling any cars. And as Bob Garfield of Adverting Age points out, one message it sends is that no one at GM is safe from layoffs, not even the machines.

It's not clear exactly how GM plans to edit the commercial, but any reference to suicide will probably be removed before the ad is rereleased.

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Stupid commercial, but it wasn't offensive.

February 13 2007 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was more offensive that GM was making a commercial about firing a ROBOT after they just laid off how many thousands of people? Good lord.

February 12 2007 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the lessons learned here today are it's okay to throw rocks at people's heads and slap the crap out of your buds, but you better not get caught "drowning the robot".

February 11 2007 at 8:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In response to InL.A.'s comment, you also have to ask if Pepsi, Budweiser, or CareerBuilder.com posted any increase of sales that week. The truth is most Americans don't use television commercials as encouragement to buy stuff anyways as much as other means (newspapers, magazines, verbal references from trusted sources, etc.)

I will admit, this commercial was a bit striking, but I can see the humor it intended to give. Okay, I'll agree that GM took it a little too far, but it's absolutely ridiculous to have so many people up in arms about it. C'mon, like Mike Davis stated, it's a commercial about a robot jumping off a bridge in a dream... it's hardly as horrifying as Prince's halftime show and arguably as violent as the Budweiser commercial where the guy threw a rock at his friend's face. No wonder the Superbowl commercials in the past years have been less interesting than ones from a decade ago... if people continue to raise arms against every little bit of satire that's mildly offensive, soon we're going to find the funniest Superbowl commercial being that annoying "I like to live on the edge" car commercial.

February 11 2007 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Davis

It was a commercial about the suicide...

...of a ROBOT...

...IN A DREAM...

Dear Lord...

February 11 2007 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The bottom line is, did GM report an increase in SALES last week? Probably not, so the ad was ineffective - it does not matter what's in the ad, if it doesn't sell anything, what's the point?

February 11 2007 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wasn't bothered by the suicide aspects, but I did think having laid off lots and lots of actual people over the years, it was a bad idea to try to generate sympathy for a robot in that situation.

Also, I liked the Daily Show's version where the robot blows it's brains (gears? chips? something) out instead.


February 11 2007 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yme Sandelmann

I don't really care about the possibility that it may offend anyone. But with soooo many creative people it the ad-agency and soooo many people who check and double-check... why has this ad made it on the air?! It's bad image for GM since the first thing that popped to my mind was also lay-offs and not how awesome GMs quality-control is... Any other company who isn't notorious for it's lay-offs may have run this ad (since it's not so bad) but not GM. Are they crazy???

February 11 2007 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Overreact much?

I'm sure there were more than a few people that got upset over that commercial. And if they weren't upset, then at the very least, it didn't help sell cars, thus GM is correct in editing the ad. In case you missed Advertising 101, the point of advertising is usually to a)help sell the product or b) create positive feelings towards a product. This ad did neither. The group I saw it with wasn't offended (neither was I, for that matter), but the general reaction was "WTF?"

February 11 2007 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank God GM will appease the 12 people it offended in the commercial. I believe the Government needs to step in here and mandate that commercials attempting humor can only contain cave men or Payton Manning. Yes, government intervention is definitely required here, look at how ridiculous these companies have become, from GoDaddy a few years ago to Snickers and GM this year. Don't even get me started on that Cat Herding commercial from a few years back. That one certainly gave me the vapors.

February 11 2007 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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