An ad for Hyundai’s hydrogen powered vehicle has been pulled from YouTube after drawing stark criticism for its traumatic premise. In the video spot, entitled “Pipe Job,” a middle-aged man attempts suicide by rigging a hose from the exhaust pipe of a Hyundai ix35 to the car’s interior. The man’s suicide attempt fails because the vehicle has “100 percent water emissions.”
Critics did not hesitate to reprimand the Korea-based automaker for the shocking imagery. One such commentator is Holly Brockwell, an advertising copy writer, who wrote an open letter to Hyundai and the advertising agency, Innocean Europe.
“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,” Brockwell writes. She describes her tears as the ad brought back vivid memores of her father committing suicide through similar means. Brockwell closes the letter with, “My dad never drove a Hyundai. Thanks to you, neither will I.”
Hyundai has now yanked the ad from YouTube and issued an apology. “Hyundai Motor deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive viral ad,” Hyundai says in a statement. “The ad was created by an affiliate advertising agency, Innocean Europe, without Hyundai’s request or approval … Hyundai apologizes to those who have been personally impacted by tragedy.”
A spokesperson for the car company tells CNN he does not believe the ad ran on Hyundai’s website or YouTube channel.
In a similar flap, Ford Motor Company was recently put in a position to apologize for a viral ad they say was never authorized that features Kim Kardashian and her sisters bound and gagged in the trunk of a vehicle.