Suicide used to try and sell a car. Again.
An alarmingly disproportionate number of car ads—usually unapproved, never officially released, sometimes ultimately revealed as hoaxes—have focused on suicide. Inhaling car-exhaust fumes has been the most popular method of attempted demise in these spots, with such efforts failing because the vehicles involved are low-emission models. That’s the joke. I use the term loosely.
Hyundai has now joined the dead pool with this apparently European commercial for its iX35 “100 percent water-emissions” model. The clip shows a middle-aged guy trying unsuccessfully to off himself in his garage. The creative approach is similar to earlier spots for other nameplates, notably Citroen and Audi. So not only is their execution using attempted suicide to promote clean car emissions quite clearly not funny and horrendously misguided, it’s also entirely unoriginal.
Holly Brockwell, a British advertising creative whose father committed suicide in a car, wrote a heartbreaking blog post in reaction that has been shared widely since the ad started gaining traction online. Hyundai has now pulled the ad, and offered this statement: “Hyundai understands that the video has caused offense. We apologize unreservedly. The video has been taken down and will not be used in any of our advertising or marketing.”