Hyundai Suicide Ad Pulled Amid Outcry

Melissa Stusinski

Hyundai pulled a suicide ad on Thursday amid outcries from the public over the company's insensitive ad campaign. The online campaign featured a man trying to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.

The ad's purpose was meant to show off the automaker's zero-emission vehicle. Unfortunately, the ad was not as humorous as Hyundai hoped.

Suicide prevention activists praised the decision to pull the ad. Robert Gebbia, executive director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, stated:

"We know from research that graphic depictions of suicide in the media can inadvertently lead to further suicides ... This advertisement was particularly graphic and potentially dangerous. We are pleased that Hyundai has decided to pull this campaign."

The Hyundai suicide ad showed a man trying to kill himself using a car's exhaust. He runs a hose from the car's tailpipe to the cabin, tapes the windows, and sits there waiting. But his attempt at suicide fails, because the car is an iX35, which runs on hydrogen and only emits water vapor.

Hyundai pulled the car suicide ad a week after it started running. On Thursday, the automaker also issued an apology, saying:

"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."

The company added that the suicide ad was created by the overseas ad agency Innocean Europe. It had no connection to Hyundai's operations in the United States. It was not clear where the advertisement appeared originally and the automaker has successfully removed it from YouTube.

Hyundai's suicide ad was removed from YouTube quickly. However, the ad's ramifications will likely be felt for a long time. One blogger, Holly Brockwell, whose day job is an advertising copy writer and blogger, wrote about the ad in her blog "CopyBot." Brockwell explained in the entry how her father committed suicide in the manner the video shows. She wrote:

"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. I shook so hard that I had to put down my drink before I spilt it."

While YouTube pulled the Hyundai suicide ad, it can still be seen here. Word of warning, however, it could cause bad memories.