Op-Ed: And the ‘All-Time Insensitive Award’ Goes to…

By Kiran Aditham 

By now, you’re probably aware of the shitstorm spawned by Hyundai and Innocean’s recent U.K. spot “Pipe Job,” which didn’t sit too well with people who were directly affected by its subject matter. In turn, the ad was pulled and apologies rained. So, since it’s still fairly fresh in mind, let’s get some quick thoughts on the campaign from Bernie Pitzel, a 35-year ad vet who’s currently creative in residence at Jacobs Agency and is the man behind the “Be Like Mike” Gatorade campaign.

…Hyundai and those wacky cut-ups at Innocean Europe for their recently pulled Hyundai iX35 “Pipe Job” commercial portraying a failed suicide attempt, which was the platform they decided on to tout their 100% water emissions.


Suicide? Really?

Oh, the commercial is powerful, but at what cost? How low can we go to shill a product? Apparently, way lower than I or most of America imagined.

This is the heartbreaking reaction to the commercial from Holly Brockwell, an advertising creative whose father committed suicide; her father’s last note is included. It’s very sad that she had to relive the pain because of this cruel and thoughtless piece of trash.

What amazes me most, is not that some clown came up with this idea (this business has more clown cars than Barnum & Bailey), but that not one person at either Innocean or Hyundai, said, “You know group, maybe depicting a suicide attempt is not such a great idea.” Apparently humanity, common decency and common sense are out the window if we think this is the kind of execution that can sell a car. A stupid car.

I won’t go on. The article, which consists mostly of Holly Brockwell’s response, speaks to the senselessness and pain far better than I ever could.

It’s a tough read. I can only imagine the tears she shed on her keyboard while she wrote it, and I can join her in never, ever purchasing a Hyundai.

In the end, I only hope “Pipe Job” encourages people to shy away from this ridiculously insensitive brand, rather than achieve Hyundai’s and Innocean’s desired intent.

Yes, they got our attention.  Let’s hope they pay dearly for their success.