A recent spat of offensive ads should have warned off automakers from attempting anything approaching 'edgy'. First, Ford India's print ad that showed women tied and gagged in the back of a Ford caused outcry. Then, Hyundai's commercial making light of suicide had to be pulled after protests from the public. Now General Motors has pulled and edited a commercial that aired globally after complaints surfaced about its offensive content.

The 'Midnight in Paris'-inspired ad shows a man stepping out of a Chevrolet from the 1930s. As he walks up to his home, a new Chevrolet Trax rolls up and he enters modern times. The music throughout the ad is what has the automaker in hot water.

The song featured in the commercial by DJ Parov Stelar is called 'Booty Swing,' but it's a sampling of a much older song, recorded in the late 1930s by Lil' Hardin Armstrong called "Oriental Swing." In the song, she refers to China as "the land of Fu Manchu," where people say, "ching, ching, chop-suey." The song is full of old-timey racial stereotypes that includes Arab, Japanese and Romanian stereotypes.

"Once the issue was called to our attention, GM immediately removed the offensive content from the commercial." GM Canada's communication director Faye Roberts told the South China Morning Post. Multiple versions of the ad aired in Canada and Europe with and without the offensive lyrics. The lyrics have been edited for all markets after the initial response.


Share This Photo X