What’s up with GM, that genetically-modified car company, these days?
ALLDERBLOB readers want to know.
Sadly, it continues its decline. Described recently in the major news media and car advertisers as being “close to bankruptcy” and “about to be overtaken by Toyota” as the world’s largest assisted mobility machine maker (a.k.a. the automobile), GM just gave astute watchers of the industry a warning sign: it’s contemplating suicide.
A Super Bowl ad showing a quality-obsessed General Motors Corp. robot jumping off a bridge in a dream sequence after screwing up on the job is drawing criticism from a suicide prevention group.
But the world’s largest auto maker is defending the ad and says it has no plans to change the spot, which is making the rounds online and is featured on GM’s website after making its broadcast debut during Sunday’s big game.
The ad, called “Robot,” opens with the machine in question dropping a screw while working on a GM assembly line. It’s kicked out of the plant and finds work waving a “Condos for Sale” sign and holding up a speaker at a fast-food joint, all the while appearing saddened by watching shiny, new GM vehicles drive by.
As the Eric Carmen song All By Myself plays in the background, the despondent robot leaps off a bridge into the water below, only to wake up inside the darkened factory — waking up from its dream.
The New York-based American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says it started getting complaints the day after the ad aired and as of yesterday had fielded more than 250 e-mails or calls. It wants GM to pull the ad from its website, try to get it off video-sharing websites such as YouTube, and apologize.
“It was inappropriate to use depression and suicide as a way to sell cars,” said Robert Gebbia, the foundation’s executive director.
GM says the robot ad was designed to show the company’s obsession with quality. GM (NYSE) rose 10 cents (U.S.) to $33.80.
Sadly, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has missed the boat on this one. What it ought to be concerned with is making sure all the employees at GM have good access to psychiatric care. It ought to be calling GM Chair Rick Wagoner’s family and friends and asking them about suspicious signs: has Rick been acting out of character lately? Has Kirk Kerkorian recently sold all his stock in the ailing company?
GM’s antisocial joke about a suicidal robot is a symptom for a sickness at the heart of the giant corporation. It’s only a matter of time….