Message to Hyundai ; suicide does not put people in the buying mood

Hyundai ad, suicide

All publicity is good publicity until you make a fellow advertiser cry and shake with disgust after watching your ad. As most have heard at this stage, Hyundai have released an ad in the past week which depicted a fake attempted suicide scene. This was intended to sell cars. The scene is disturbingly realistic. We see a man enter a garage and tape the exhaust fume pipe thing (I don’t now what this is called) to the window of his car and then deeply inhale the fumes. The camera zooms out and you assume that the man will pass away within minutes but then here comes the massively inappropriate twist : He exits the garage alive and why? Because the clever new Hyundai ix35 is environmentally conscious and emits 100% water emissions. Witness the discomfort below for yourself :

There was obviously a huge backlash after this ad went viral with Hyundai claiming that they didn’t give the go ahead for it’s release.They predictably then grovelled and asked for forgiveness with their spokeswoman quoted as saying : “Hyundai understands that the video has caused offense,”. We apologize unreservedly. The video has been taken down and will not be used in any of our advertising or marketing.”

It seemed the toxic and poor decision making infected everyone with The Guardian newspaper also coming under scrutiny for placing the ad in their ‘best adverts of the week’ column. This was also later removed as the views expressed in the column were “not consistent with the views of the paper”. 

With advertising such as this, there is always a sense of ‘not sad you did it just sad that you got caught’ about the response. If for some mental reason the public reacted well to this ad then of course the makers would never second guess their choices. 

How will Hyundai recover from this in the future? Their innovative, new environmentally friendly design has been completely overshadowed by this inappropriate ad. The engineers and brains behind this design must be fucking raging that their achievements are, for the moment irrelevant and all thanks to this ad.

Yet when this hype dies down I’ll remember what the ad’s message is which would definitely have slipped by me otherwise. I’m not condoning how the ad went about becoming ‘memorable’ but it did make an impact and I’ve definitely seen worse ads with less thought behind them. If it weren’t so offensive it could be clever, they clearly thought outside of the box but offended too many people to ever get recognition for this.

I think it will be interesting to see what their next advertising approach will be. Will they lay low and then come back as if nothing ever happened or will they try to over-compensate by making an ad where all the proceeds go to suicide awareness charities? Only time will tell, but for now Hyundai, you have fucked up. 


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