Car manufacturing company, Hyundai, has apologized and took off its viral ‘suicide’ advertisement after intense negative response.
The ad which has now been pulled off by the company showed a man who was about to commit suicide but couldn’t do so because the Hyundai car only emits water vapor.
The theme of the commercial to some appeared ‘creative’ and ‘funny’ but the provocative advert wasn’t that at all. It hurt the sentiments of many people who had lost or almost lost their loved ones because of suicides. An advertising copywriter, Holly Brockwell, was also one of those people whose bitter memories were ignited when she watched the Hyundai ad. Her father had killed himself inside a car in 1990.
Brockwell posted a very moving open letter to the company and its advertising agency Innocean to express her emotions. The blog has her father’s picture and a note he left before his suicide.
This is an excerpt of what she wrote:
“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.”
Holly’s letter helps to understand how sometimes careless advertising can deeply affect the minds and lives of people. She also posted the following comment on Twitter:
Can someone please explain to me how an expensive ad with high production values could be 'not intended to go out'?— Holly Brockwell (@hollybrocks) April 25, 2013
After all, advertising aims to trigger emotions and to affect the psychology of the masses.
Hyundai has apologized for its ‘mistake’ and has also pulled off the advert, though it has not been completely wiped off the internet.
In a statement the South Korean car manufacturing company said it “deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive viral video.” Innocean Europe said it deeply regretted any offence or distress the video had caused.