Advertising must be a depressing industry to work in – knowing that all your efforts are essentially going towards filler material that people fast-forward on TV, flick past in magazines and ignore totally in the street.
It’s bound to affect your self-worth, and lead to all sorts of mental problems, up to and including “stealing your commanding officer’s identity in Korea,” if AMC dramas are to be believed.
These same mental problems are probably the only way to explain Hyundai’s latest ad, which sees a man trying to commit suicide by taping a hose to his exhaust, only to find that his plans are foiled by the car’s low emissions and he’s forced to continue what we can safely infer is a life of grinding misery.
Unless the guy goes and slits his wrists.
Either way, it’s a terrible advert that has drawn fire from mental health charities, bereaved relatives of suicide victims, and pretty much anybody with a sense of decency.
Of course it’s in extremely bad taste, but nobody seems to have pointed out the obvious fact that it’s also a terrible ad; what it effectively says is “People who drive Hyundais have nothing to live for.”
Right off the top of my head, here’s a related, better idea for an ad: We see a guy’s life falling apart – wife leaving, losing his job, etc etc – and he decides to kill himself, but then goes for a drive in his Hyundai and realises that life’s not so bad.
It’s a more uplifting message and makes your god damned product actually come off well in the process.
Also, it subtly gives the impression that life is worth living. Studies have shown that when suicides are prominent in the news or media, people become more likely to kill themselves, making it patently irresponsible to air a pro-suicide ad.
The Guardian, meanwhile, evidently tired of being a respected paper, praised the ad on their website as one of the best released this week. The offending piece has since been deleted, but I think we can all agree: Hyundai-driving Guardian readers are probably going extinct at a rate of knots.
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