DETROIT -- Protests from seven safety groups prompted General Motors to pull a TV commercial that shows a young boy driving a Corvette so recklessly that it goes airborne, GM officials said Wednesday.
The ad, featuring the Rolling Stones song "Jumpin' Jack Flash," has aired repeatedly during the Olympics. The groups, including Consumers Union and the Center for Auto Safety, complained that it was "the most dangerous" spot they have seen in recent years.
Directed by singer Madonna's husband Guy Ritchie, the spot shows a boy's daydream of racing the Chevrolet Corvette through downtown streets and through a construction pipe. The safety groups said in a letter to GM released on Wednesday that the spot could encourage children to take their parents' cars for a drive.
"This ad is certainly among the most dangerous, anti-safety messages to be aired on national television in recent years," the safety groups said in a joint letter sent to GM CEO Rick Wagoner. "It is doubtful that General Motors would condone the beer industry showing a "dream sequence" of 10-year-old children having an afterschool "kegger," the letter said.
The commercial does include a warning that drivers should operate the vehicle safely and must have a license, but the automaker decided to stop airing the spot, GM spokesman Joe Jacuzzi said Wednesday.
"We decided to pull it due to responses and feedback we received," Jacuzzi said. "It's a big ad, and it's been airing for a while, but we've got a whole campaign."
The Corvette ad is one of many spots GM prepared for the Summer Olympics. GM is the largest TV advertiser during the Summer Games, spending 10 times more during the Aug. 13-29 Olympics than it typically spends during a comparable period.
The seven groups who signed the letter include Consumers Union, Public Citizen, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
Groups also have protested controversial ads or marketing campaigns from other automakers in recent years.
Ford Motor Co. was targeted when an ad showing a cat poking its head through the sunroof of the SportKa, only to be decapitated when the roof closes, found its way onto the Internet. But that spot, which Ford said it never authorized and never aired, is still shown on the Internet, where it has created a buzz.
The Chrysler group pulled its sponsorship of the Lingerie Bowl, which featured models in scantly clad outfits playing football and aired during halftime of the Super Bowl in February.