Steve Jobs lands with a thud in controversial mattress ads

"You, go out and get me the softest mattress you can find!"

“You, go out and get me the softest mattress you can find!”

Someone in global ad agency Oglivy & Mather is clearly thinking different (read: not really thinking at all) because they’ve featured Steve Jobs as one of the historical figures in a bizarre, and bafflingly offensive, ad campaign for Indian mattress company Kurl-On.

The theme of the ads is the idea of bouncing back (because, you know, mattresses have bounce in them) with famous people shown recovering from low points in their life to “bounce back” to greater levels of success. Jobs’ own advert shows him being booted out of Apple in 1985, only to return to glory as the creator of the iPad.

Okay, so it’s a bit historically inaccurate (Jobs had been back at Apple for the best part of a decade and a half when he unveiled the iPad) but that’s not the reason people are outraged about the campaign — which in another ad shows teenage activist Malala Yousafzai being shot in the head by the Taliban before recovering to receive various awards, including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Understandably the campaign has been slammed by representatives of the teenager, although Greg Carton, Ogilvy’s press spokesman for Asia Pacific says that only the Jobs piece ever ran.

“This was a paid client campaign and only the Steve Jobs piece ran in a local newspaper in India a few weeks ago. The Malala piece has never been in paid media – nor will it be,” he noted.

Shows why advertising should be left to the professionals, eh?

The Steve Jobs ad can be viewed below:

malala17n-3-web

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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