London-Based Copywriter Pens Heartfelt/Heartbreaking Open Letter to Innocean, Hyundai (Updated)

By Kiran Aditham 

Not the best way to end the day, but Holly Brockwell, a London-based digital copywriter’s note to Hyundai and its agency, Innocean, regarding their new ad campaign, had us figuratively chopping onions for a few minutes. If you haven’t seen the campaign, which promotes the automaker’s ix35 in the most awkward of ways, look above (Update: It looks like the videos keep getting taken down, so don’t be surprised if it happens again; We’ll just provide screen grabs if need be. Update 2: And, yes, it’s now been officially pulled by the brand) . Anyhow, the man in the ad survives his attempted suicide thanks to Hyundai’s apparent 100 percent water emissions. Unfortunately, Brockwell’s dad died in the same manner, and after watching the spot, she penned this letter to the brand and agency via her blog. It’s, as mentioned, a heartbreaker and we truly feel for her. Here’s just an excerpt:

“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.


Surprisingly, when I reached the conclusion of your video, where we see that the man has in fact not died thanks to Hyundai’s clean emissions, I did not stop crying. I did not suddenly feel that my tears were justified by your amusing message. I just felt empty. And sick. And I wanted my dad.”

Her final note to the parties involved says it all: “My dad never drove a Hyundai. Thanks to you, neither will I.” We obviously can’t blame her. Let’s just see if and when or how agency and/or brand responds.

Updated: Well, that didn’t take long. Barely 90 minutes after this post, Hyundai has offered this to us verbatim:

Hyundai Motor America Statement:

“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.”


Hyundai Motor Company 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.”