Hyundai Motor Europe has issued an apology for an advertisement depicting suicide that sparked outrage after it surfaced online last week.
The one-minute commercial, titled Pipe Job, shows a man sitting in a car in a closed garage, who appears to be trying to kill himself with toxic exhaust fumes. At the end of the ad, the man, still alive after apparently failing his suicide attempt, leaves the garage as a tagline touts the model’s clean exhaust emissions.
In a statement published by Forbes, Hyundai Europe said, "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."
The original video, posted to YouTube last week, has since been removed.
The advertisement, which has been attributed to marketing agency Innocean Europe, sparked heavy criticism on blogs and social media.
On her advertising blog, London-based copywriter Holly Brockwell condemned the spot and recalled her late father, who, she writes, killed himself in a similar manner.
"So I’d like to ask that next time you want to tell the world about a new innovation in car design, you think about it for a little bit longer," Brockwell wrote in an open letter to Hyundai and Innocean Europe. "Think about me. Think about my dad. And the thousands of other suicide victims and the families they left behind."
The North American arm of the company also released a statement earlier Thursday denouncing the ad.
"We at Hyundai Motor America are shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt in an inappropriate European video featuring a Hyundai," the statement read. "Suicide merits thoughtful discussion, not this type of treatment."
The advertising website Adland.tv pointed out that Hyundai is not the first car company to use suicide in its commercials. A 2002 ad by Citroen and a 2009 ad by Audi were also based on similar concepts.