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The Tasteless Commercial for the Hyundai’s iX-35 Shows an Attempted Suicide

Someone in their infinite wisdom thought that showing someone committing suicide would be a good idea, in order to sell their the European Hyundai iX-35.

When a company goes to an advertising agency to come up with a concept that will make people excited about buying their product, somehow, I won’t have chosen suicide as the best idea. However, the green aspect of the car is supposed to make us all feel better because the car’s exhaust isn’t Carbon Monoxide. It is water vapor, which saved the car owner’s life.

To say that people have been outraged it is to be polite and Hyundai responded:

We understand that some people may have found the iX-35 video offensive. We are very sorry if we have offended anyone. We have taken the video down and have no intention of using it in any of our advertising or marketing.

So why are people outraged? Not only do people know that suicide is a heart-wrenching problem in society today, especially with those who have had family or friends who have died because of it, but studies have shown that people who view suicide have are more susceptible to committing suicide themselves.

British doctor Dr. Ben Goldcare says:

It has been shown repeatedly that suicide increases in the month after a front page suicide story. There is also evidence that the effect is bigger for famous people and gruesome attempts. You may want to remember that fact for later.

Details matter, as ever. Overdoses increased by 17% in the week after a prominent overdose on Casualty (watched by 22% of the population at the time), and paracetamol overdoses went up by more than others. In 1998 the Hong Kong media reported heavily on a case of carbon monoxide poisoning by a very specific method, using a charcoal burner. In the 10 months preceeding the reports, there had been no such suicides. In November there were 3; then in December there were 10; and over the next year there were 40. You may want to remember that story for later.

While some people will just see the doctor’s words as just words, nothing speaks to the true tragedy of suicide as someone who has expereinced the loss of a loved one because of it, like Holly Brockwell:

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.

And Hyundai continued to apologies in two additional and separate statements

We at Hyundai Motor America are shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt in an inappropriate UK 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.

Now please be warned, this commercial is VERY distrurbing. If you have a low tolerance for such things, please do not watch the commercial.

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