DETROIT (Reuters) - Chrysler Group apologized on Thursday for an advertisement that showed a dog being electrocuted beside its new Dodge Nitro sports utility vehicle.
The ad, created by BBDO Netherlands which supports Chrysler’s sales in the Dutch market, shows a dog being electrocuted after urinating on a Nitro’s wheels. The agency is part of Omnicom Group Inc’s BBDO Worldwide.
The ad, which ends with the dog going up in flames, has the tagline “charged with adrenaline.” According to Chrysler, the ad was placed exclusively on the Internet.
“Chrysler Group was dismayed to discover that an advertisement created by an ad agency supporting our Netherlands Market Performance Center goes far beyond the bounds of what the company considers appropriate,” Chrysler said in a statement.
The company said the ad included “fictional yet inappropriate treatment of an animal” and said it was “in extremely bad taste.”
“Although European commercials — especially ‘viral’ ads like this one — are often edgier, this one went over the edge,” Chrysler said in the statement. The company said it was “investigating the origins of this commercial.”
Chrysler had the ad pulled from YouTube.com. It was unclear if it was on other Web sites.
This is not the first time Chrysler has run into controversy for its advertising.
The company was criticized by gay groups last year for a Dodge Caliber hatchback car ad in the United States that showed a little fairy turning a tough-looking man walking a large dog into a yellow-clad man walking four small dogs on pink leashes in the “Anything but Cute” campaign.
Last year, Chrysler’s U.S. dealers criticized the company for its ads, saying they did not highlight the competitive features of the vehicles.
Chrysler’s condemnation of the advertisement comes days after Atlanta Falcons football player Michael Vick was indicted over alleged involvement in a dog-fighting operation.
Vick has denied direct involvement in pitbull fights alleged to have taken place on property he owns in Virginia. The indictment in Richmond, Virginia, said dogs had been put to death by drowning, hanging, gunshot and electrocution. It also charged Vick and his associates with shooting dogs that did not pass muster after tests of their fighting ability.
Vick has no connection with Chrysler Group.