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Anger over Malala Yousafzai ad

Last updated 11:49 16/05/2014
Malala ad
'DISTASTEFUL': The full ad for Kurl-on.

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An ad agency has been forced to apologise for a campaign showing a cartoon of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai being shot in the face from point-blank range.

Two years ago, the Taliban shot then 14-year-old Yousafzai as she made her way home from school on a bus.

The ad, made for Indian mattress company Kurl-on, shows the girl holding up her hands and then being shot in the head. Blood can be seen on her face.

She tumbles through the air before landing on a Kurl-on mattress, above the slogan "bounce back". The character moves back up the page and is shown in various stages of recovery to end with her receiving an award.

Agency Ogilvy & Mather first defended the ad, calling it a tribute, but has issued a statement to the Huffington Post apologising.

"We deeply regret this incident and want to apologize to Malala Yousafzai and her family," senior partner Rachel Ufer said.

"We are investigating how our standards were compromised in this case and will take whatever corrective action is necessary."

Outrage over the ad was quick on social media and within the industry, the Daily Mail reported.

It quoted Canadian executive Tom Megginson as saying  "14-year-olds getting shot in the face by terrorists are appropriate content for mattress ads now?

"I am ashamed to be in the same industry as these ad people."

The Kurl-on campaign also featured Steve Jobs bouncing back from being sacked by Apple and Mahatma Gandhi's transformation from his law career to becoming a peace activist.

The ads have not run in any paid media.

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