A local jewelry chain says its newest advertisement was meant as a humorous pun, but angry callers have instead compelled the company to pull it from area buses after only one day.

The ad, promoting Melart Jewelers's diamond sale, reads, "Hit Her With a Rock."

"I was just horrified when I saw it," said Sherry Levy-Reiner, an executive with the Association of American Colleges in Washington. "The first thing I thought about was the Central Park jogger."

She was referring to a young woman who was assaulted while jogging in New York's Central Park last year by a group of teenagers, one of whom beat her into a coma with a rock.

Levy-Reiner was among a handful of people who phoned Melart's Silver Spring headquarters Tuesday to complain about the ad, only hours after it began appearing on the sides of Metro buses. Melart President Martin Stein told her the ad would be discontinued immediately, she said.

Rick Hindin, president of Adworks, the Washington agency that created the campaign, said Tuesday the ad was intended to amuse, not suggest violence against women. "We're in the business of making people happy and smile," he said. "We meant it tongue-in-cheek."

The ad was one of a series of four appearing on buses that play off the word diamond, such as "Take Her to See the Stones" and "The Greatest Show on Ice." The ad agency also suggested that Melart promote earrings with the phrase "Stick It in Her Ear," but the idea has not been used yet.

Hindin said the copywriter, account supervisor, art director and account executive behind the campaign are women.

Moreover, he said, the ad drew a generally favorable response from women who saw it in a test group, but he conceded the results may have been skewed by viewing it alongside the others in the series.

"In that context, the humor and good intentions {were} clear," Hindin said.