February 11, 2007

GM Superbowl Ad - WARNING...

DO NOT WATCH THIS GM COMMERCIAL (see link below) IF YOU ARE DEPRESSED. I'm serious. I want to post this link to a site where you can see all the Superbowl ads for entertainment, and where you can search for the GM robot ad, but for those of you who are depressed, I seriously advise you NOT to watch the ad, which GM was forced to pull from Sunday's Grammy Awards presentation because of objections by the mental health community.

I watched the commercial and was horrified. I will tell you what it is about, but nothing I say can convey the utter desolation and despair that...But wait. The ad opens with this yellow robot dropping a bolt onto the floor of the assembly plant. All eyes are on "him." Other robots look aghast, or one is supposed to think so, and the humans in it look, well, very sorry but determined to do their duty, which is to throw him out of the factory and out of his wonderful job.

The music starts...I don't know the name but it will be very familiar to all, it's the song with the chorus, "all by myself...I'm gonna be...all by myself" and as it plays it is obvious that the robot is trying its hardest to do some work, to find something, ANYthing to do to earn a living. This is no light-hearted ad, folks, this is really heartbreaking, and robot or no, you feel for the "guy."

Finally, a bridge comes into the picture, and you see the traffic zooming underneath it and the robot on the bridge in despair, shot from the top, and the robot falling, obviously committing suicide...Next, in a very rushed scene that I could barely decipher it was over so fast -- frankly I was still reeling from the suicide -- the robot apparently wakes up in his bed and you are supposed to understand that it was all a dream.

Now, I would NOT have gotten that message, seeing the advertisement cold. I would have gotten the message that should you drop a bolt at GM it would be so devastating a loss that you might as well go out and kill yourself! This is precisely what the mental health community feared in our objections to the ad. There is no doubt in my mind but that this is an incredibly harmful commercial, to the depressed but also to anyone else seeing it.

Most people will lose a job sometime, even if it is only in their teen years, though more and more it is happening to those in middle age, especially in the auto industry (!) and can happen at any time for almost any reason to anyone. What if this ad is the one thing you know about what to do after losing a job?

I might think again about wanting one of GM's all electric cars -- the Volt -- when it comes out in 2010. I'm not sure I want to patronize any company that thinks a depressed employee is something to laugh at, that thinks FIRING an employee is the stuff of laughter, that thinks causing a former employee to commit suicide, even in a dream, is funny enough to serve up for Superbowl fans' delectation.

I'll tell you, I won't soon forget it, that's how disconcerting the robot's pain was...By the magic of animation, the ad's creators made a robot represent human depression better than any antidepressant ad I've ever seen, and they used it, having the robot kill himself, to sell cars. What a travesty.

Here is the link to the overall site. You look alphbetically for GM. But let the watcher beware...PLEASE. Be careful and responsible. I'm not saying this will definitely induce suicide, but it is awfully sad. For those of you who don't want to watch the GM commercial, some of the others are fantastic. Check out just the first one, Blockbuster's, about the mouse. PETA might frown (silly), but it's all in fun, and the animals are animations. (Quibblers, I know it is technically still the 10th but I wrote this for Sunday and abracadabra I can change the date on this with one keystroke. So there!)

Posted by pamwagg at February 11, 2007 10:24 PM


I'm really sorry Tawny, truly. I thought you were the one attacking me. I thought you were one of PETAs people...Oh, it doesn't matter. Were you not attacking me? It is life after all for the cat to attack the mouse etc that's all I meant. But the "Get over it" was gratuitous and I apologize for it. I assumed that you...Forget it. What did you mean, since I apparently misinterpreted you? Pam W

Posted by: Pam W at February 27, 2007 09:19 PM

Pam: I really did not expect your response to be so harsh towards me. Wasn't that you who describes in your blogs about people treating others and such?? Why am I deemed so worthless that you can attack me as such. And what does "it's life, get over it" supposed to mean?

Posted by: tawny at February 26, 2007 09:25 PM

Actually, it's fine for a CAT to do anything it wants to a mouse. I'm sorry to say, Tawny, but that's just how cats are made. It's also fine for killer whales to drown just-born gray whales too, much as I wish they wouldn't. And it's also fine for polar bears to jump upon and smash the hiding places of infant seals and tear them to shreds...(Not that there is much of a future for polar bears, thanks to us.) It's life, get over it.

Posted by: Pam W at February 24, 2007 03:10 AM

so it's ok to hurt the mouse??

Posted by: tawny at February 23, 2007 07:35 PM

Dear Pam,

I haven't seen the commercial but from what you write it seems perfectly horrible. Imagine if they had used humans instead of personified robots to make their point. It would show a deeply repressed and repressing world, where one mistake can ruin a life. Using a robot is a manipulative tool that they must think is funny for some reason. But what does this have to do with selling cars? Are they saying that their GM workers are as efficient as robots and that anyone who's not is immediately fired? A world like that would make me suicidal too! Hopefully the commercial is not in circulation anymore and was just a superbowl Sunday blunder.

Posted by: Kate K. at February 15, 2007 08:14 PM

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