Apparently, making fun of the plight of the Tibetan people is not the only Superbowl advertising drawing the ire of the public.
HomeAway.com’s ad (below), which featured a ‘test baby’ smashing face-first into a glass wall has the advertiser rapidly backpedalling after a public backlash.
As the USA Today reported, many viewers and children’s advocates objected immediately. “It’s a gratuitous act of violence against an infant child” said Patrick Donohue, founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation…by turning child abuse into a joke, the ad sets back the cause of battered children by years.”
Donahue’s foundation is named for his infant daughter, who was permanently disabled during her first week of life after she was shaken by a baby nurse.
One of the paper’s reporters was also “taken aback to receive an email from HomeAway, inviting me to go to its website and play the ad, or plug in various endings, including one in which the test baby smashes through the glass wall and is decapitated.”
The company intends to pull the ad, and cut a new version showing the “test baby” doll being safely caught unharmed. This is quite a U turn from the CEO’s remarks earlier in the week that “The buzz can be positive or negative, as long as there’s buzz.”
On the positive side, it seems that the rules of the advertising game are changing. Thanks to social media, when advertisers talk, the public can talk right back. And judging by the 1,000-word apology letter written Tuesday, admitting “a mistake in judgment”, at least some advertisers are listening.
The new verision of the ad is shown below. Couldn’t they have done it this way from the start?
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