Suicide sells. That’s both the title of Chuck Palahniuk’s next book, probably, and Hyundai’s ill-advised marketing strategy for the new iX35, “the car you can’t kill yourself to,” according to a new suicide-themed commercial from the South Korean company. In it, we see a middle-aged man, who’s resigned himself to death, tape up the iX35’s tail pipe in a closed garage. A moment later, however, the garage door opens and he walks away, alive. The tagline reads, “The new iX35 with 100% water emissions.” Shockingly, the ad, entitled “Pipe Job” (now you’ll never be able to ask for one of THOSE again), is pissing a lot of people off, including copywriter Holly Brockwell, whose father committed suicide the same way the man in the ad did.
As an advertising creative, I would like to congratulate you on achieving the visceral reaction we all hope for. On prompting me to share it on my Twitter page and my blog. I would not like to congratulate you on making me cry for my dad. 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. And then I started to cry. I remembered looking out of the window to see the police and ambulance, wondering what was happening. I remember mum sitting me down to explain that daddy had gone to sleep and would not be waking up, and no, he wouldn’t be able to take me to my friend’s birthday party next week. No, he couldn’t come back from heaven just for that day, but he would like to if he could. I remember finding out that he had died holding my sister’s soft toy rabbit in his lap. (Via)
I, um, well, see…moving on. Holly’s letter made a difference, though, because according to the Independent, the ad “has been pulled after prompting fierce criticism.” And yet “Leon Sandcastle” remains. Not fair.