Friday, April 26, 2013

Hyundai commits brand suicide

As a young ad writer, I created some pretty dumb commercials. I once proposed a campaign for a Chevrolet that used Imelda Marcos' shoe collection, the falling of the Berlin Wall, and the Tiananmen Square uprising as reasons for a year-end sale. 

But I never created anything this dumb.

video

Fortunately, I had a creative director who was smart enough to know that making light of others' suffering is not a great way to endear yourself to those you want to sell something.

Apparently no one at Innocean, Hyundai's European agency, got the message.

To be fair, Hyundai's American marketing arm quickly offered the following statement after this spot aired:
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.
You'd think it would be obvious, but after a string of incredibly tasteless ads, apparently it needs to be said. So as a public service to all the young creatives in the advertising industry, here's a list of just a few of insensitive and tasteless subjects in addition to suicide that should never be used as a foil for your message in an attempt to create a humorous ad:
  1. Murder
  2. Rape
  3. Child abuse
  4. Natural disasters
  5. Brutal oppression
  6. Torture
  7. Drunk driving
  8. Terrorism
Don't worry, that still leaves you plenty of stuff to make fun of. I hear David Hasselhoff is considering going on tour again.

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