Video: Selling cars via … suicide attempts?
posted at 1:34 pm on April 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Easily the strangest ad strategy I’ve ever seen:
What the hell was Hyundai thinking? They’ve pulled the ad now, but come on, man:
Car manufacturer Hyundai has pulled one of its adverts in the face of huge criticism about its lighthearted portrayal of a suicide attempt.
The online commercial featured a man attempting to kill himself in his garage by filling it with toxic car fumes but he was ultimately thwarted because the ix35 car emitted only water vapour – one of its main selling points.
Even worse, the ad won kudos from the media:
The advert was available online for a week and had been praised by some media. The Guardian featured it on its weekly ‘best adverts of the week’ roundup, describing it as a “risky viral”.
“When your ad started to play, and I saw the beautifully-shot scenes of taped-up car windows with exhaust feeding in, I began to shake.
“I shook so hard that I had to put down my drink before I spilt it. And then I started to cry. I remembered looking out of the window to see the police and ambulance, wondering what was happening.
“I remember mum sitting me down to explain that daddy had gone to sleep and would not be waking up, and no, he wouldn’t be able to take me to my friend’s birthday party next week.
“No, he couldn’t come back from heaven just for that day, but he would like to if he could. I remember finding out that he had died holding my sister’s soft toy rabbit in his lap.
“Surprisingly, when I reached the conclusion of your video, where we see that the man has in fact not died thanks to Hyundai’s clean emissions, I did not stop crying. I did not suddenly feel that my tears were justified by your amusing message. I just felt empty. And sick. And I wanted my dad.”
This wasn’t just an employee wandering off the reservation in a home-made YouTube video. An advertising agency came up with the idea, pitched it to Hyundai which approved it, and then a bunch of people filmed the ad, and then bought time for it. At no point, apparently, did anyone think to say, “How in the world do suicide attempts help sell our cars?”
You may want to keep that level of corporate intelligence in mind when trying to determine whether Hyundais will keep you safe on the roads, too. Unbelievable.