Though it is unclear how anyone at the company could have possibly though it was a good idea, Hyundai Europe recently released an advertisement depicting a man attempting to commit suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning by leaving his car running in the garage. The man in the ad fails to kill himself because the vehicle’s emissions are 100 percent water emissions.
Unsurprisingly, the ad has sparked some outrage — particularly among people who have had family members take their own lives, some using the same method.
Hyundai later issued an apologetic statement:
We at Hyundai Motor America are shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt in an inappropriate European video featuring a Hyundai. Suicide merits thoughtful discussion, not this type of treatment.
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.
Hyundai Europe also apologized for the ad and announced it would no longer be using it in its campaign.
But the damage was done. Nothing made that more evident than a moving blog post by Holly Brockwell, a digital copywriter in London. She tackled the controversial ad on the advertising blog she manages called Copybot:
I understand better than most people the need to do something newsworthy, something talkable, even something outrageous to get those all-important viewing figures. What I don’t understand is why a group of strangers have just brought me to tears in order to sell me a car. Why I had to be reminded of the awful moment I knew I’d never see my dad again, and the moments since that he hasn’t been there. That birthday party. Results day. Graduation.
Watch the ad below (Warning! Video below depicts fake suicide attempt):
(H/T: USA Today)