I Smushed a Baby, Visit My Website! Another Superbowl Advertiser Under Fire (VIDEO) [UPDATE]

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? 


Via Flickr CC Some rights reserved by Wyscan


Akin Adelakun
Akin Adelakun6 years ago


jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago


Eric B.
Eric Basco6 years ago

Test baby or not, it depicts an action for humor. Tasteless and rude. They did not think of the reactions.

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Ed A., Pamela H., Laura D., we know it's not real, we're not idiots and it's still in bad taste. Maybe the insinuation of child abuse is funny to all of you but not to us level-headed individuals.

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Ed A., we know it's not real, we're not idiots and it's still in bad taste.

Manuela B.
Manuela B6 years ago

some people say it's only a doll, only an advertisement, only make believe, BUT because some people are stupid and cruel
their motto is '"MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO" . Even if it is only ad advert - who in their right mind would want to see a baby or even a pretend baby smashed up against a wall....

Ed A.
Ed A.7 years ago

It's amazing how stupid people are. It's not real - it's a commercial people. Have you ever watched a movie? If so, you must be terrified of the special effects. Grow up!

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

Just because it was "only a doll" doesn't make it more acceptable. A stupid commercial is a stupid commercial. So they only want consumers whose children jump on beds and have pillow fights? They hear a smash in the room... the staff runs to see what's going on... It's okay, Suzy & Johny just broke the frame on the bed and in the mean time, sprung the springs in the mattress... Now because they have to buy new ones to keep replacing the old ones, the rest of us can pay higher prices to go there because the parents don't know how to teach their kids how to behave properly... A couple hours later, they notice that Johny has a black eye and Suzy a fat lip because they hit themselves on the wall or dresser when they fell of the bed they broke... Now they're going to sue, and that's just hilarious. It's funny because it's just a black eye... Okay, I get it.

Next time we'll just put the child abusers there. It's okay because it's their own baby who they dropped from the balcony into the hot tub. It's the 10th kid they have... and they're from the trailer park. So the baby must deserve it, right?

So in the commercial, they have to use a fake one, because it would be wrong to use a real one. It's the implication that's totally stupid. Stupid irritates me. Seriously.

Lynne C.
Lynne C7 years ago

Advertisements have to meet the approval of the brand it is advertizing. HomeAway must have morons running it.

Vic Atkin
Vic Atkin7 years ago

What were they thinking? Someone should sack the person that thought this was a good idea.