"My dad never drove a Hyundai. Thanks to you, neither will I."

Hey, people reading Adland. You. You there. You know when things get out of hand and an ad rolls into serious bad taste territory, don't you? Don't you? Like this recent Badlander Suicide by car: now clean emissions Hyundai join Citroën & Audi. Well, you know, and you would never, right? Liar.

This talented copywriter sends an open letter to Hyundai due to Innocean's really tasteless advert that depicts a man attempting suicide in a car and failing due to the clean emissions.
I'm calling her (the writer) talented here because she made me cry, as one does with a sad story well told. In her open letter to Hyundai Holly Brockwell cuts everyone down to size with a few well chosen words:

I’ve worked on automotive accounts. I actually worked on Honda for the best part of a year. And strangely, not once did it seem that the best way – the most intelligent way, the most creative way – to advertise their products to people was to remind them of the horrendous event that is suicide. Strangely enough, I could – and still can – think of a thousand more interesting, creative ideas that wouldn’t have left me feeling like I’ve just lost my dad all over again.

Yo Innocean, she called you a hack. And she's right.
Does it really take a copywriter with a tragic backstory to make you, dear adgrunt, understand that there is such a thing as a backbone, some integrity and a bit of taste available in your toolbox of awesome? Really? Well. That's sad.

Update: : Hyundai has apologized:

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.

So did Hyundai North America:

We at Hyundai Motor America are shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt in an inappropriate UK video featuring a Hyundai. Suicide merits thoughtful discussion, not this type of treatment

Then Hyundai apologized again.

Hyundai Motor deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive viral ad. The ad was created by an affiliate advertising agency, Innocean Europe, without Hyundai’s request or approval. It runs counter to our values as a company and as members of the community. 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.

Update I've also Badlanded this ad one more time as the idea was done for Nissan back in 199

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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phviljoen's picture

I'm not in the market for anything Hyundai makes, but from an innovation and product design perspective they've done such a good job elevating their brand to the point where it will compete with industry bulwarks like the Civic and the Camry. How they were persuaded to buy such stale creative is beyond me. The Citroen and Audi spots that preceded it were edgy but at least darkly funny. This is a case study of why people hate advertising, and the back peddling as if it was not meant to be seen is so spineless. Is it really normal for clients to approve a one or two day shoot, and full blown editorial and online and sound mix? This is a finished spot and that costs a lot of money. Can someone please explain how something like this gets made?

Wouldn't they just sketch this out in a pre-vis instead of spending all that money?

bigdick's picture

If her dad had a Hyundai, he might still be alive

HEHEYHEY!'s picture

You're not a big dick you're a giant ass.

Why do we always see this when an ad fails?

The ad was created by an affiliate advertising agency, Innocean Europe, without Hyundai’s request or approval.

Is this a ghost ad? Scam ad? Spec ad?