Hyundai ‘Pipe Job’ ad a deadly serious mistake


Below is a commercial from Hyundai called “Pipe Job.” It was intended to promote the Hyundai ix35, an eco-friendly fuel cell car with “100% water emissions.”

The ad shows a man going into his closed garage and running a hose from his car’s tailpipe to its passenger compartment. He then gets into the car, takes a few deep breaths, and closes his eyes. A few hours later the garage light comes on, the door opens, and the man walks out.

The shocked reaction was immediate and profound. One particularly heartbreaking example: An open letter to Innocean and Hyundai. And as if the author’s distress weren’t bad enough, look at some of the comments. There are some cruel, cruel people in this world. And some really sick, ignorant ad copywriters.

The ad appeared on YouTube and outrage from consumers and suicide prevention groups caused Hyundai to pull the ad today and issue this 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.

Let’s hope that one or more former Innocean employees are on the street tonight looking for new jobs and that the current generation of advertising copywriters has learned an unforgettable lesson in sensitivity.

Oh, and Innocean might want to consider changing their tag line, currently “Making Waves.”



7 thoughts on “Hyundai ‘Pipe Job’ ad a deadly serious mistake

    1. I’m still slack-jawed. I realize cultures differ, and copywriters are a generation younger now, but this is so stunningly insensitive … and just to sell cars.

  1. Poor guy just couldn’t quite manage to kill himself – thanks to Hyundai! That’s just fricken hilarious. NOT.

    I could see that it might be possible to get into the mindset that this is funny, but it would require a lot of drugs, alcohol, and really bad co-workers. I mean, imagine the group-think behind this. Somehow, a group of people (assumably sober professionals) actually convinced themselves that this was funny enough to produce. The poor actor was probably just happy to get paid and kept his mouth shut.

    1. It’s appalling, isn’t it, to imagine first that they even came up with the idea, and then that they remained enthralled with it long enough to actually get the thing produced and distributed, or at least leaked. Must be one helluva bubble those guys live in.

... and that's my two cents