GM to Edit Robot Spot

BOSTON General Motors said Friday it would edit its controversial Super Bowl spot that shows an auto plant assembly-line robot commit suicide by jumping off a bridge in a dream sequence after it loses its job.

The automaker earlier this week vowed to keep the ad intact, but apparently changed its mind after meeting with representatives of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which had demanded that the ad be pulled and that GM issue an apology.

The company said the scene of the robot’s jump would be deleted. GM has also removed the clip from its Web site.

The advocacy group had said it found the ad, “offensive and potentially dangerous.”

In its initial response, GM said, “We have no plans to change the spot,” but the company softened its stance on Friday.

Interpublic Group’s Deutsch/LA in Marina del Rey, Calif., crafted the 60-second spot, which uses the tagline, “Obsessed with quality.”

“The GM ad is insensitive to the tens of millions of people who have lost loved ones to suicide,” said Robert Gebbia, the group’s executive director, in a statement issued on Wednesday. “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 is no stranger to layoffs, as the long-struggling automaker has made massive cuts in the past two years in an effort to trim its North American salaried workforce by 7 percent—or approximately 30,000 jobs.

GM’s spot was the second Super Bowl execution to stir controversy following the game.

On Tuesday, Masterfoods shuttered a microsite featuring its 30-second “Mechanics” ad from the Super Bowl in response to complaints from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Human Rights Campaign, among others. The spot from Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day depicts two mechanics eating opposite ends of a Snickers bar until their lips meet and they break apart.

This story updates and replaces an item posted Feb. 7 with the news that GM would edit its robot commercial.