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Hyundai reaches a low with ad mocking suicide May 9, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Hyundai’s creative team was reaching in a new ad, probably to an all time low. Looking to promote the Hyundai iX35, a car with 100 percent water emissions, the company released an advertisement in the UK claiming that the exhaust from the vehicle is so safe that not even someone with a death wish could be poisoned by its fumes. The one minute ad features a depressed middle-aged man sitting in the driver’s seat in a closed garage, with a hose running from the exhaust pipe to the window. When his mission obviously fails, he scuffles back into his home.

Viewers were mostly disgusted by the notion that suicide is laughable, and the company was forced to apologize and order the ad taken off the airwaves. Hyundai Motor Europe released a statement, declaring:

“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.”

Hyundai Motor America released a somewhat similar statement, claiming to be “shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt” in the ad.

To see the ad yourself, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why would companies risk running possibly offensive ads?

2.  Do such offensive ads hurt brands? If so, then how? If not, then why not?

3.  Was Hyundai’s response sufficient in minimizing the impact of this situation?

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