Criticism of Ads Spur Their Withdrawal, New York Times, June 17, 2002.

Two marketers are withdrawing advertisements after complaints from advocacy organizations.

Subaru of America, part of Fuji Heavy Industries, dropped a television commercial for its Forester sport-utility vehicle that showed a rabbit being released from captivity. The company and its agency, Temerlin McClain in Irving, Tex., part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, said the rabbit was a wild animal, but some animal-rights organizations argued that it was a domestic creature that would die in the wild.

"We were looking for ways to clarify to people that it was a domestic rabbit, but we thought it was best to pull it altogether," said Rob Moran, a spokesman for Subaru in Cherry Hill, N.J.

Also, Ikea North America, part of Ikea Svenska, withdrew a newspaper ad promoting a sale at two Southern California stores that showed two female prison inmates. The company and its agency, Crispin, Porter & Bogusky in Miami, said the ad was intended to be humorous. But organizations like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation complained that the ad reinforced "harmful stereotypes" because it showed the women in a sexual situation in which one resisted the advances of the other.

"When we were creating the ad, we did not perceive it in an offensive way," said Gina Raiser, advertising manager for Ikea North America in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. "But as soon as this was brought to our attention, we felt we needed to pull the ad."

The withdrawals of the ads came shortly after the Dr Pepper/Seven Up unit of Cadbury Schweppes and its agency, the New York office of Young & Rubicam Advertising, part of the WPP Group, stopped running a commercial set in a men's prison that some advocacy organizations like Stop Prisoner Rape complained made light of sexual violence.