It's been kind of a patchy season for Super Bowl ads.
After drawing insensitivity complaints from a suicide-prevention group, General Motors has agreed to edit parts from its latest commercial, which depicts a despondent robot jumping off a bridge.
The "Robots" ad, which means to highlight GM's attention to quality, starts off with a robot that drops a screw while working on a factory assembly line. The robot gets fired and, while fulfilling its new job as a sign waver, looks longingly at all the shiny GM cars driving by as Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" plays in the background.
Eventually, it's too much for the robot to handle and it jumps off a bridge. Luckily for the robot, it was all a dream and the commercial concludes with said machine waking up, safe and sound, in the GM plant which, in real life, is the Lansing Grand Rapids Cadillac plant in Michigan.
GM spokesman John McDonald said that, after talking with reps from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the automaker decided to tweak the spot.
There's no confirmed air date for the new version yet, McDonald said, but it won't be airing during Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony as was originally planned.
"I think this whole matter has brought a new level of sensitivity and awareness," American Foundation executive director Robert Gebbia told the Associated Press. "GM is being very responsive." Gebbia's organization apparently started getting complaints on Monday, the day after the Super Bowl.
GM's move comes several days after Mars Inc. dumped its Snickers Super Bowl commercial from the airwaves and removed it from the brand's Website after two gay rights organizations complained that the 30-second spot in which two guys kiss, only to feel compelled to prove their manliness afterward, sent a homophobic message.
Snickers maker Masterfoods stopped short of issuing a public apology, but as of Tuesday that commercial had been pulled from snickers.com. It can now only be seen on the dozens of video-sharing Websites that have picked up this year's cache of Super Bowl ads.
And even before it aired, Nationwide Mutual Insurance's ad featuring Kevin Federline had attracted its own share of controversy.
The Washington D.C.-based National Restaurant Association protested the commercial's depiction of the fast food industry, finding fault with the implication that burger-flipping is a sorry profession and it's where you might end up if you don't plan accordingly. Via Nationwide, if you please:
"This commercial is a strong and direct insult to the 12.8 million Americans who work in the restaurant industry," NRA president and CEO Steven C. Anderson wrote in a letter to the financial-planning purveyor. "It would give the impression that working in a restaurant is demeaning and unpleasant."
The ad premiered as scheduled, however, with Nationwide standing behind its vision and Federline telling Reuters that they were "really not trying to insult anybody."
Britney's former man of the house even scored a job offer from Taco Bell after word of his commercial cameo made the rounds.