Is Hyundai’s Ad Car Suicide?

An ad for Hyundai's iX35 Fuel Cell SUV featuring a man's failed attempt at suicide. Image provided by CNN/Youtube. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013.
An ad for Hyundai's iX35 Fuel Cell SUV featuring a man's failed attempt at suicide. Image provided by CNN/Youtube. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013.
An ad for Hyundai’s iX35 Fuel Cell SUV featuring a man’s failed attempt at suicide. Image provided by CNN/Youtube. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013.

It was quite shocking to see in one of my Facebook groups where public relations practitioners gather to share ideas and news to see a video advertisement for one of Hyundai’s new car emissions feature.

You see, well you can by clicking here, that Hyundai decided to show how they have remedied emission issues by showing a person in a car with a pipe running from the exhaust to the inside of a running car with windows up in a closed garage.

According to Copybot and Media Bistro, a copywriter, Holley Brockwell, in London decided to pen an open letter to Hyundai and their advertising agency, Innocean Europe. Her father committed suicide in a car through inhaling fumes and she found the video to be heartbreaking. Not only has Brockwell’s feelings been heard, but so have countless others.

Here are the apologies as given from Hyundai’s U.S. and main office according to CNN.

Hyundai Motor America 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.”

 Hyundai Motor Company Statement:

“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.”

Based on the Innocean Europe Facebook page, they have not issued an apology nor responded to posts on their Facebook wall regarding the commercial.

What do you think? Is this ad “suicide” for their brand?

Reply below and your comments may be used for a future post.


Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit today.


Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.


4 thoughts on “Is Hyundai’s Ad Car Suicide?

  1. I am horrified, no matter what their reasoning, that any company would use that kind of tactic for advertising purposes. I would be ashamed to even admit I worked for the agency or marketing department that decide to actually use it.

    Whether people agree with me or not…it is a low class, mean spirited and hurtful way to put your message out there.

    I worked for years with a national automotive ad agency and one of our clients was a Hyundai dealership when Hyundai was just starting out. I am proud to say we would never have created such an invasive commercial.

    I guess you were right Ebony, your article did evoke a reaction from me!

    Brenda Ellison

  2. It has outraged many. Some topics need to be approached with sensitivity and humanity.

    What did they accomplish through the video? This company has certainly managed to stir up the brand, but not in a way that can be reflected upon positively.

    Sadly enough the Hyundai Europe nor the agency have issued an apology at the time I wrote the blog yesterday.

    I would hope that they intend to do so.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. All I can say is WOW! It is sad that they have not issued an apology but even sadder that it was ever approved and made public in the first place! To make light of suicide is inconceivable. Shame on Hyundai Europe.

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