Hyundai apologizes for ‘offensive’ ad of attempted suicide
South Korean car manufacturer says Europe's Innocean agency made ad without Hyundai requesting or approving it.
Hyundai has apologized for an ad depicting a suicide attempt after a global outpouring of rage over its use of tragedy to tout the traits of high-efficiency cars.
The South Korean car manufacturer pulled the ad and issued statements of remorse for the “offensive, viral ad,” adding the one-minute clip was created by an affiliate ad agency, Innocean Europe, without the car maker requesting or approving it. The video of the ad is no longer available on YouTube.
“It runs counter to our values as a company and as members of the community,” read the statement, sent by Chris Hosford, executive director of corporate communications for the U.S. branch of the company.
“We are very sorry for any offense or distress the video caused. More to the point, Hyundai apologizes to those who have been personally impacted by tragedy.”
The ad shows a middle-aged man taping a hose from the exhaust pipe of his Hyundai in through the window. He starts the car and watches fumes drift from the hose, while ominous music plays in the background. He sits back and breathes.
Then the video shows the man opening the garage door and heading into the house while the tagline “The new ix35 with 100% water emissions” plays across the screen.
One of the most heart-rending responses came from London copywriter Holly Brockwell, whose father committed suicide in a car when she was a girl. In an open letter to Hyundai and Innocean posted on her blog, Brockwell included a photo of her dad and of his suicide note.
“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,” she wrote in conclusion. “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.”