Ogilvy Apologizes for Shooting Malala Yousafzai in Mattress Ad

Work from India is shockingly crass

Someone at Ogilvy India thought it would be a good idea to depict Malala Yousafzai being shot by the Taliban to sell Kurl-On mattresses. Clearly it wasn't.

Ogilvy has now officially apologized for the ad, saying it is "contrary to the beliefs and professional standards of Ogilvy & Mather and our clients." It was originally sent to Ads of the World, which has since taken it down, though you can still see the full ad on AOTW's Facebook page. (The concept is that Kurl-On mattresses help you "Bounce back." The Malala ad shows her falling after being shot, bouncing off a mattress and rising to receive a humanitarian award.)

Other ads in the series featured Steve Jobs being ousted by Apple and Gandhi being tossed off a train for refusing to move from first class. I can only imagine the creatives said, "Geez, we should probably get a woman in there." And Malala is a great choice. Except what happened to her wasn't a cartoon, which is where the whole thing falls apart. Plus, she didn't just "bounce back." She soared above. The ad really is the ultimate trivialization of a horrific event.

Malala has appeared in ads—most notably, Bing's "Heroic Women of 2013" spot. But you know, celebrating her strength and courage is different than shooting her again.

What do you think? If you think the world is way too sensitive now and offended over everything, let me know in the comments without threatening to shoot me. That won't help your point.

@rebeccacullers Rebecca Cullers is a contributor to Adweek.