Hyundai apologises for trying to sell cars using suicide ad

Suicide – it’s a difficult topic to base your advertising campaign on, as Hyundai UK has just learned with its commercial finding international condemnation.

[Warning: This article talks about suicide, if that’s not something you want to read about here’s a video of a cat dressed up as a shark riding on a Roomba chasing a duckling to help brighten your day. For help of a less cat-video nature, call the good folks at Lifeline: 0800 543 354 ]

‘Pipe Job’ shows a middle-aged man leading a hose from his car’s exhaust to his window, before settling down and taking deep breaths. The intention is clear – he’s trying to kill himself.

The big reveal shows the man walking out of garage disappointed because Hyundai’s IX35 has 100 percent water emissions.

Unsurprisingly Hyndai Europe received a lot of flak for the video, which was created by ad agency Innocean.  Particularly damning is this open letter, by an ad creative whose father committed suicide in a car. Hyundai took down the ad and apologised unreservedly.

“We understand that some people may have found the iX35 video offensive.  We are very sorry if we have offended anyone.  We have taken the video down and have no intention of using it in any of our advertising or marketing,” it said in a statement to Forbes magazine.

This isn’t the first time a car company has used the suicide angle to sell its wares. In fact, the death by exhaust pipe / eco friendly motif is more than a decade old as this Nissan ad from the ’90s shows. Hyundai is not only guilty of apathy to this delicate topic, it’s also not very original either.

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