Hyundai’s Lazy Suicide Ad

26 Apr

Hyundai Suicide Ad ScreenshotPerhaps this bizarre ad would have worked better, if the tailpipe of Hynudai’s new fuel cell car, the IX35, were hooked up to a sauna. Instead, we watch a man try to commit suicide, and fail.

Hyundai USA has yanked the ad: “We at Hyundai Motor America are shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt in an inappropriate European video featuring a Hyundai. Suicide merits thoughtful discussion, not this type of treatment.”

Hyundai has also tried to distance itself from the marketing firm, Innocean, that produced the video.

On Thursday afternoon, the company released a statement saying that its advertising agency, Innocean Europe, had produced the ad “without Hyundai’s request or approval.” (Hyundai Motor Group owns 30 per cent of Innocean Worldwide Americas LLC. )

The production of an ad without multiple levels of approvals – including for posting on social media and other websites – is highly unusual in the marketing world.

“It runs counter to our values as a company and as members of the community. We are very sorry for any offense or distress the video caused,” a statement from Hyundai’s global headquarters said. “More to the point, Hyundai apologizes to those who have been personally impacted by tragedy.”

Controversy sells. It’s cheap to post a video on social media sites, rather than go through all that time-consuming, tedious process. And, admittedly, I’m only helping Hyundai with this post.

Hopefully, some good can come from this. Thank you, Holly Brockwell, for giving Hyundai what it deserves for its lazy stunt.

I’ve worked on automotive accounts. I actually worked on Honda for the best part of a year. And strangely, not once did it seem that the best way – the most intelligent way, the most creative way – to advertise their products to people was to remind them of the horrendous event that is suicide. Strangely enough, I could – and still can – think of a thousand more interesting, creative ideas that wouldn’t have left me feeling like I’ve just lost my dad all over again.

So I’d like to ask that next time you want to tell the world about a new innovation in car design, you think about it for a little bit longer. Think about me. Think about my dad. And the thousands of other suicide victims and the families they left behind.

My dad never drove a Hyundai. Thanks to you, neither will I.


Holly Brockwell.

Or as Brockwell tweeted, with less spleen and more perspicacity: “Can someone please explain to me how an expensive ad with high production values could be ‘not intended to go out’?”

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2 Responses to “Hyundai’s Lazy Suicide Ad”


  1. Hyundai ‘Pipe Job’ ad a deadly serious mistake | Pied Type - 26 April 2013

    […] Hyundai’s Lazy Suicide Ad ( […]

  2. Hyundai ‘Pipe Job’ ad a deadly serious mistake | - 27 April 2013

    […] Hyundai’s Lazy Suicide Ad ( […]

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