Friday, 3 May 2013

Hyundai: Not the Korean for 'has a heart'

If the definition of something going viral is that it rapidly causes nausea and a general feeling of queasiness, the Hyundai are to be congratulated with their latest piece of viral marketing - it really hit the spot.

Featuring (get this, it's a real laugh riot!) a middle aged man unsuccessfully trying to commit suicide in their eco-friendly car, the advert has quite rightly raised hackles across the internet.

It’s a dreadful advert. It reminds me of the dystopian advertisements in a Paul Verhoeven film- the sort of thing that you can imagine a young, naive creative may think is funny when he or she is chortling down the pub with mates, but is much less funny when you realise that your intended audience (your ‘hilarious’ mates, who will happily stick up for you anonymously in comment sections of websites) can’t afford the car in question, and the rest of the people who see it feel that the world has just got a little bit crueler for having the ad projected into it through our own personal Black Mirrors.

And the fact that Hyundai tried to weasel out of any controversy was just as sad - especially seeing as the creative agency that made the video is owned by the Chairman of Hyundai. It’s conceivable that he didn’t see it, but then that’s not really an excuse.

As a disclaimer, I should really point out that I’m an supporter/helper-outer of the charity CALM (a suicide-prevention charity based in the UK), but to be perfectly honest, I’d object to the cruelty of this video even if I wasn’t. It’s mean-spirited, cruel, and leaves you feeling a bit dirty.

Hey, Hyundai - make sure that this doesn’t happen again. Next time, try and make something that appeals to the best elements of humanity, rather than this dreck. And read this.

On your website, it states that ‘At Hyundai, we ask ourselves the important questions every day. And, every day, we seek the best answers. It’s what makes us grow as a car company.’

Clearly, the question of ‘will this upset anybody?’ wasn’t asked once. So you're clearly not asking enough.