Posts Tagged ‘hyundai’

I’m not your best friend. I’m a prospect. UPDATED

Like everyone else, I get inundated with marketing outreach all the time. Ads before YouTube videos. Newspapers. TV. Radio. Website banner ads. And on and on. And the phone. Which brings me to this.

Got this yesterday, on our landline. (Yes, we have a landline, we’re dinosaurs, ha ha ha) A little context: We leased a Hyundai. In 2002. At the end of the lease, we returned it, and since that time, to my knowledge, we’ve got a flyer about once a year from the dealership. We haven’t had any interaction for eight years. And then we get this voicemail. I eagerly await this mysterious letter.

“Oooh, you’re getting this special offer, it’s not going out to just any customers of ours, you’re very special and important.” Really? Someone who hasn’t had a moment of interaction in eight years is in some way deserving of a special offer from you? What does the customer who’s been loyal to you for multiple purchases get?

I know I’m a prospect. You know I’m a prospect. That’s why I’m in your CRM system. Why pretend that I’m any more than that? Be honest about your intentions, and I’ll likely be honest about mine.

UPDATE, August 11:

I got the letter from the car dealership. Here’s the envelope:

The more astute of you may notice it’s addressed to “Campbell LeDrew.” That’s my middle name. Which I never use. The letter suggests that I exchange my 2002 Hyundai Elantra on the purchase or lease of a new car. There’s a problem, though. I gave them back that car in 2006 when the lease ended. Haven’t seen it since. You’d think they’d know that, wouldn’t you?

So perhaps I can summarize their pitch this way:

Hey, person whose name we don’t know? Would you like to trade in the car you returned to us eight years ago on another car? We wouldn’t ask, except you’re a really special person to us and we care. 

Is your work decent? Ask yourself. UPDATED

I rarely blog in anger. But my blood is boiling right now.

I got pointed this morning to a blog post by a UK copywriter.

She called out Hyundai, and its ad agency Innocean, for this ad:

In case this is pulled, the idea is this: Man tapes up his car windows, seals himself in the garage, and feeds his Hyundai’s exhaust into the car. But it’s so green, he can’t complete the act of suicide. 

Copybot writer Holly Brockwells was upset by this for two reasons. One, it’s offensive. Two, her father killed himself in just this way when she was a child.

I, too, am a survivor of suicide in my family. And I can’t tell you how angry and upset I am that someone would not only conceive of this ad, but then go through all the steps necessary to COMPLETE it.

I’m not going to go through all the reasons why this is so offensive and hurtful. You’re all smart enough to know why already. So some advice: whatever your work is within the world of communications and PR and social media, ask yourself a question:

Is what I’m doing or saying decent?

If the answer’s no, STOP.

UPDATE: Hyundai has issued a terse apology for 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. Suicide merits thoughtful discussion, not this type of treatment.” Note that they are distancing themselves from it being a Hyundai ad. I have reached out to Hyundai’s media team asking questions about this. This National Post story suggests Hyundai wasn’t involved in making the ad.

Bad Science blogger Ben Goldacre says this ad could actually increase suicide rates by this method.

UPDATE 2: I have a response from Hyundai USA’s corporate comms folks and a statement from Hyundai Europe.

“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.”

I have an email out to Hyundai Europe and to Innocean with questions. I will update when I have more.


Hyundai Europe provided the following response:

Dear Bob,
in response to your note I like to provide you the following statement -
“Hyundai Motor deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive ad depicting a suicide attempt in one of our vehicles.

The ad was created by an affiliate advertising agency, Innocean Europe, without Hyundai’s request or approval. Nevertheless, 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”

I hope this helps and you will understand we are not commenting beyond this. Thank you.

In Mitch Joel’s post about this fiasco, finally evidence that Innocean is actually not an “affiliate”, but … a subsidiary of Hyundai. Which makes their responses seem nauseatingly disingenuous.
I just received the following only partially responsive email from Innocean:

Dear Bob Ledrew,

In regards to the recent film “Pipe Job” which has caused controversy in the media recently, firstly we write to confirm that the film was produced by INNOCEAN Worldwide Europe GmbH without the approval of our Client, Hyundai Motor Company.

The film was designed to creatively dramatize the technical strength of the vehicle featured and posted just in Youtube of INNOCEAN Europe. Clearly we misjudged consumer sentiment and INNOCEAN Worldwide Europe has already issued a formal statement of apology.

INNOCEAN Worldwide deeply apologizes for this incident and would like to express our sincere apology to everyone for any distress caused.

we will endeavor to learn from this unfortunate incident and will continue to work with added vigor to become the Company that better understands consumers, human and worldwide.

Regards,Peter Kwan
Sr. Manager
PR Team / INNOCEAN Worldwide Global HQ

I’m responding with further questions.