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Posts Tagged ‘Hyundai’

Hyundai Apologizes for Ad Depicting Suicide Attempt

For the second time this month, a company is apologizing for making light of suicide in their advertizing. While these unapproved McDonald’s posters were distasteful and insensitive, Hynudai’s “Pipe Job” spot, which actually depicts a failed suicide attempt, takes the decidedly un-funny joke to an entirely different level.

The ad shows a man attempting to end his life with carbon monoxide poisoning by breathing the exhaust of a new Hyundai. The joke’s on him, though; the car’s emissions are so clean, he lives to see another day.

Yeah. We’re not laughing, either.

In fact, because some of us have immediate family members who have suffered with depression and have attempted suicide, we just can’t muster our usual “lighten up” attitude for this one — it’s just plain offensive (and potentially harmful). There is ample data showing that careless depictions of suicide can actually cause more suicides to occur. And this ad not only depicts a pretty detailed blue-print for how to kill yourself, but it also neglects to show any evidence of the impact that this man’s actions would have on others, or suggest that there is any kind of help available to him.

A spokesman for Hyundai told Forbes via email that the video was created in Europe by a European agency (Innocean Europe), and said that Hyundai Motor North America was not involved in any way in its production or posting. He also passed on the following statement from Hyundai Europe:

“We understand that some people may have found the iX35 video offensive.  We are very sorry if we have offended anyone.  We have taken the video down and have no intention of using it in any of our advertising or marketing.”

Hyundai North America has since publicly issued the following statement:

We at Hyundai Motor America are shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt in an inappropriate UK video featuring a Hyundai. Suicide merits thoughtful discussion, not this type of treatment.

While we do feel that this apology and the decision to pull the ad were appropriate damage-control responses, we are a little surprised the ad made it that far in the first place without someone somewhere along the line saying, “gee, guys, it’s clever and all, but this goes quite a bit too far”. Mental illness is still a fairly taboo subject in many respects, and those suffering from it often feel too ashamed to talk openly about what they are going through or to seek help. We don’t see ads making light of other life-threatening disabilities, so why is depression any different?

On principle, we weren’t honestly sure we even wanted to include the video in this post, but realized readers would likely want to see what we’re talking about. The ad is below the jump, but we personally found it disturbing enough to suggest you use discretion before viewing.

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Hyundai and Kia Issue Debit Cards to Solve PR Crisis

Buying a car is a major purchase. When selecting the best make and model, consumers factor in various elements, from style and color to gas mileage. In fact, with gas prices rising and environmental concerns growing, fuel economy can be the determining factor.

You can imagine the PR dilemma Hyundai and Kia face after admitting they overestimated the fuel efficiency of 900,000 cars. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered the discrepancy, reporting that gas mileages were inflated by 1 or 2 mpg in most cases but up to 6 mpg in some.

This is not the sort of news that Hyundai and Kia can simply spin away–every time customers fill up their tanks and scoff at the numbers racing skyward at the pumps, they’ll remember being misled. Hyundai and Kia, Korean automakers and siblings, claimed that the mistake was due to “procedural errors,” which is both dismissive and ambiguous enough to infuriate any consumer who paid tens of thousands for one of their products.

So what are Hyundai and Kia doing to assuage the situation? They’re reimbursing consumers by giving them debit cards filled with a monetary amount they’ve based on a confusing formula that accounts for the customer’s location, driving habits and fuel prices in their region. The companies claim that they will refresh the cards as long as affected customers own the cars. Oh, and they’ve added a 15% “bonus” to compensate for any inconvenience.

You know what else is inconvenient? Having to plan your unnecessarily complicated budget around yet another card in your wallet.

Will the 15% “bonus” be enough to buy the public’s goodwill? We’ll be watching as Hyundai and Kia explore just how much money it costs to keep consumers from rebelling.

Spin the Agencies of Record

Hyundai’s dedicated shop, Innocean, has secured its first non-auto client in the U.S. FootJoy, the maker of performance-wear golf products, hired the company to launch a repositioning campaign that includes social media, TV and digital responsibilities.

Rob Kelley, FootJoy’s director of brand marketing, explained that Innocean “demonstrated a deep understanding of the game, our business and the ability to capture the consumer’s attention through fully integrated campaigns across all channels, just a few of the factors that led to their selection in this review process.”

The FDA has selected six agencies to work on its anti-smoking educational campaigns. The agencies, which will support different responsibilities under the new effort, include Interpublic Group‘s Campbell-Ewald, True North Communications, Mullen Communications, WPP’s Grey Global Group, the independent agency Riester and the American Legacy Foundation. Some agencies will allocate work to agency partners. The campaigns are mostly funded by tax-like fees from tobacco companies, which collectively involve a maximum of $390 million awarded over five years. Read more

J.D. Power Lists Five Consumer Trends

Mediapost reports on the five consumer trends J.D. Power and Associates and its new digital trend spotting division have pinpointed.

  • Brands must provide timely and accurate info on social networks because of the growing use of smartphones and mobile devices.
  • Consumers are focused on simpler lifestyles over excess, so brands must highlight the value of their products and services.
  • Because of the economic meltdown, consumers are looking for low price as well as high quality.
  • Smartphones and mobile devices are giving consumers greater control over their shopping experiences.
  • Traditional life stages are evolving, with people getting married later and changing the meaning of retirement.

Specifically for the auto industry, this spells opportunity for “mainstream brands moving up to luxury,” says Dave Howlett, senior director of consumer insight and strategy at J.D. Power. He uses Hyundai as an example; the company’s 2010 Equus model, a luxury sedan, is pictured above.

“One of the things we found from Hyundai is these programs where companies are offering things like free oil changes for 36 months, or free maintenance is resonating with consumers; it lets them justify purchase,” he told Mediapost.