An advertising agency has apologised for using a cartoon of teenage activist Malala Yousafzai being shot in the head by the Taliban to promote mattresses.

The poster campaign, made by the Indian offices of international agency Ogilvy & Mather for bedding company Kurl-On, features the schoolgirl being shot and falling onto a mattress before recovering to receive an award.

The poster shows her gradually falling onto the bed with an intravenous drip hooked up to her, before making a full recovery by the time she bounces back up off the mattress. The advert ran under the strapline "Bounce Back".

Greg Carton, Ogilvy's press spokesman for Asia Pacific, said the company "deeply regrets" the advert and wanted to personally apologise to Malala and her family.

Malala Yousafzai
The company has apologised for running the \"sick\" advert

He added: "The recent Kurl-On ads from our India office are contrary to the beliefs and professional standards of Ogilvy & Mather and our clients.

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

"In addition, we have launched a thorough review of our approval and oversight processes across our global network to help ensure that our standards are never compromised again."

The other two posters in the "Bounce Back" campaign show Mahatma Gandhi being fired from his role as a barrister before rising up as India's independence leader, and Steve Jobs being kicked out of his own Apple company before returning with an iPad.

Carton said that only the Jobs advert went live to the general public, running in a local Indian newspaper, with the other two only featuring in an advertising industry website.

The Pakistani teenager was shot in the head by the Taliban when she was 14 for writing a blog which detailed her life under the regime in which she declared she wanted an education.

After making a remarkable recovery from her injuries, she went on to become a spokesperson for education and human rights. She has also received awards for her activism, including a Nobel peace prize nomination.

Malala Yousafzai
The other two posters in the campaign featured Steve Jobs and Mahatma Gandhi Ogilvy