Isuzu Pulls 'Body Bag' TV Commercial

TIMES STAFF WRITER

American Isuzu Motors has pulled a television commercial for its Rodeo truck that some viewers complained was in poor taste.

In the spot, a young man loads a body bag into the rear of the Rodeo as a neighbor, peering from a window, calls police. After stopping the Rodeo, a policeman opens the bag, only to find that it contains dirty laundry. The spot was intended to illustrate the amount of cargo space in the Rodeo.

Antiobscenity activist and Florida lawyer Jack Thompson said the tousled character driving the Rodeo reminded him of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, a likeness Isuzu executives said was unintentional.

"It was grotesque," Thompson said. He applauded Isuzu's decision to cancel the ad.

Terry Maloney, senior vice president for light vehicles at Isuzu, said he yanked the spot because it "was not as humorous and light as I would have liked." He said he did not see the spot before it aired in February on ESPN and TNT.

The timing of the ad was inopportune: It aired as network executives were meeting to discuss violence ratings for TV shows.

Maloney said he was unaware of viewer complaints, but another Isuzu marketing executive, Tony Harkey, confirmed that the company had received calls from viewers complaining about the ominous tone of the commercial.

The commercial was produced by the San Francisco agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, which did not return calls seeking comment.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
55°