Hyundai’s Bleak, Awful, (And Now Pulled) Suicide Commercial

I am not an easily offended person. I tend to crack jokes that make politically correct types uncomfortable, and I think society is overall too sensitive. So it’s not often that I see ads that not only offend me, but make me angry. I can’t believe Hyundai’s European “Pipe Job” commercial for the iX35 (created by Innocean) even got approved. Almost immediately, we see a an exhaust pipe flowing into a car with sealed windows and know exactly what’s going on (shades of Lane Pryce from Mad Men). The tension builds and builds as a man is waiting for the inevitable…and then we see why nothing is happening. The man’s suicide attempt is foiled. It’s a really dark and disturbing way to show that the car has 100% water emissions. While the ad does have some visceral appeal, it made me upset and pissed off. Suicide is not something to joke about. But the best response has come from copywriter Holly Brockwell, who lost her father to suicide in the same manner presented in the commercial. Common sense prevailed as the ad has been pulled, and Hyundai has apologized. But still, it’s crazy that this ad was ever made.

Update: Looks like Hyundai shut it down on YouTube. I can’t embed it on here, but if you really want to see it, try Adweek.

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