GM Cuts Suicide From ‘Robot’ Spot

DETROIT The revised “Robot” spot for General Motors, sans the controversial suicide scene of the earlier iteration, bows Sunday during the Academy Awards telecast on ABC.

That scene, actually part of a dream sequence, drew protests from mental health and suicide prevention groups.

The revised ad from Interpublic Group’s Deutsch/LA can be viewed here.

The spot originally portrayed a robot on the assembly line fired for dropping a bolt. The anguished automaton toiled through a series of low-end jobs (such as holding a sign hawking condo units) before pondering a bridge jump. As he leaps, he awakens from what is revealed to have been a nightmare.

The amended 30-second effort removes the jump and substitutes as a bad dream a shot of a car being compacted in a scrap yard. It also shows the robot in additional menial jobs: working as a shelf-stocker and holding the security gate at a parking ramp.

Several groups, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, had protested the original GM ad, as well as a recent Volkswagen spot that showed a despondent man on a building ledge, claiming the spots were insensitive to mental illness and people afflicted with depression.

A source close to GM said the original “Robot” prompted the “most calls of any” ad by the automaker in the past five years. That spot bowed during the Super Bowl broadcast on CBS.

In the VW spot that was yanked last week, the potential jumper left the ledge after a passer-by informed him that there are three VW models for sale for under $17,000. No amended spot is scheduled for release.