Hyundai just yanked this misfiring European commercial depicting a man trying to off himself with his car exhaust. But not before the gag traumatized a London woman who blogged in heart-rending prose about how her father had killed himself in similar fashion.
The ostensible point of the ad, produced by a firm called Innocean, is that Hyundai's emissions are so clean that they can't kill you, even if you duct-tape an exhaust hose into your front seat in a closed garage.
As an advertising creative, I would like to congratulate you on achieving the visceral reaction we all hope for. On prompting me to share it on my Twitter page and my blog. I would not like to congratulate you on making me cry for my dad.
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.
Shortly afterward, a Hyundai representative told the London Independent that the ad is kaput. "Hyundai understands that the video has caused offense," the spokeswoman said. "We apologize unreservedly. The video has been taken down and will not be used in any of our advertising or marketing."