UPDATE: Holly Brockwell, a British advertising creative whose father committed suicide in a car, wrote a heartbreaking blog post in reaction to this ad that has been shared widely this week. Hyundai has now pulled the ad, and offered this statement: "Hyundai understands that the video has caused offense. We apologize unreservedly. The video has been taken down and will not be used in any of our advertising or marketing."
A disproportionate number of car ads—usually unapproved, never officially released, sometimes ultimately revealed as hoaxes—have focused on suicide. Inhaling car-exhaust fumes has been the most popular method of attempted demise in these spots, with such efforts failing because the vehicles involved are low-emission models. That's the joke. I use the term loosely. Hyundai joins the dead pool with this apparently European commercial for its iX35 "100 percent water-emissions" model. The clip shows a middle-aged guy trying unsuccessfully to off himself in his garage. It's getting popular online. Neither Hyundai nor ad agency Innocean responded to queries. The creative approach is similar to earlier spots for other nameplates, notably Citroen and Audi. The death-wish commercials featuring those cars are superior, with Citroen's use of stylish dark humor really bringing the suicide theme to life. As for Hyundai, well, personally I wouldn't be caught dead in one.