A counterculture tobacco store pulled a television commercial showing a drunken, gun-toting Santa Claus bent on committing suicide.
The MTV ad for the Pipeline popped up during daytime broadcasts, bringing protests from concerned parents.
“I took it off because I didn’t want to offend anyone and I certainly didn’t want to upset children,” store manager Kyle De Priest said Thursday.
The commercial showed Santa Claus on top of the Pipeline store, a bottle of gin in one hand and a gun in the other.
“I might as well be dead,” Santa cries, lamenting that the store has better items than he does.
A crowd below cheers and then the viewer hears a gun go off. Santa’s clothes drift to the ground.
The main problem, De Priest said, was that the ad accidentally appeared during daytime broadcasts.
“That was the cable television station’s mistake,” he said.
The ad was aimed at 18- to 35-year-olds, the age range for most of the customers at the Pipeline. In addition to tobacco, the store sells nose rings, body-piercing jewelry, T-shirts with obscenities on them and posters of bare-breasted women.
“My intention was to have it play from 10 to midnight to get the late-night crowds, especially during ‘Beavis and Butthead,’ when the people watching appreciate this kind of humor,” De Priest said.
De Priest said he received about six calls after the commercial appeared Monday.
“It’s just not the right thing to be showing on TV,” Jay Leonard told the Santa Cruz County Sentinel.