This banned Hyundai commercial was created by a European advertising agency. American Ford did not approve it for use and it was not intended to be shown on air. Since it leaked on the internet, it has created a huge controversy.
The commercial lets viewers be voyeurs during a man’s attempt at suicide. This topic alone makes Americans uncomfortable, and being present during the act ups the discomfort. However, I believe that humor and wit outweigh the heavy theme. The ad actually focuses on the environmentally friendly side of Hyundai car. The man isn’t able to commit suicide because the car doesn’t produce carbon monoxide fumes. After the man gives up his suicide attempt, he opens the garage and white text appears, which reads “The new ix35 with 100& water emissions.”
I think the suicide-themed Hyundai commercial is justified to air without censorship. Before I viewed it, the way I heard it described sounded comical and brilliant. After watching the ad, the dark, serious cinematography did strike a slight nerve. However, I still believe it is highly effective at demonstrating the environmental benefits of the new Hyundai car. It is clear that the commercial is European, given the overall theme and the right-side steering wheel. According to USA Today, “Hyundai issued a 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.”
The ad was created by an overseas ad agency, Innocean Europe, and had no connection to Hyundai’s U.S. operations. Suicide prevention activists expressed relief that the ad has been banished. Robert Gebbia, executive director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said “We know from research that graphic depictions of suicide in the media can inadvertently lead to further suicides, a phenomenon known as contagion. This advertisement was particularly graphic and potentially dangerous. We are pleased that Hyundai has decided to pull this campaign.” Although I can see where suicide prevention benefits from banning this commercial, I am disappointed that Americans decided it crossed the line. Perhaps if Americans didn’t see taboo topics with such fear, they wouldn’t be so shocking in the first place.