Controversial Advertising

Hyundai ‘Pipe Job’ Commercial (Click Here)

Hyundai Apologises For Car Ad.

This particular Hyundai commercial caused some serious controversy amongst the public due to its explicit theme of suicide and turning it into humour. The objectives of the advertisement from Hyundai’s perspective was to showcase how clean the exhaust fumes are on the Hyundai ix35. The intended audience was aimed at people with families and environmentally friendly consumers. Hyundai chose a controversial approach to highlight their main selling point of the car which is the water vapour emissions which would’ve been less likely to be noticed in a non controversial advertisement. The advertisement is effective but in a totally negative way, because it has attracted a lot of attention but it will not be likely to increase sales but actually decrease sales. I would improve this advertisement by firstly eradicating any form of suicide from the video. To improve shock value one could replace the elderly man with a young female driver. To make it less controversial but keep the same theme introduce a shark in the passenger seat enjoying the water emissions entering the car. According to the trade press article the effect of the controversy was pretty damaging to their reputation especially because Hyundai didn’t apologise until the damage was already done. This impacted upon the brand negatively and people lost trust in Hyundai especially a blogger who was a victim of suicide in that form.


Cheerios commercial.

Trade press article cheerios.

In this Cheerios commercial it involves an interracial couple and their child and the benefits of eating Cheerios. The controversy of this ad is something quite sad, it is that there is an interracial couple and a certain percentage of viewers became very racist towards the video. The objectives of the advertisement were to highlight the healthy benefits of eating Cheerios and how they can lower cholesterol and also how it is good for your heart. The intended audience would be anyone who eats cereal, people with a healthy lifestyle or young families in general. What is interesting about this advertisement is that it wasn’t meant to be controversial but a portion of the public found it morally wrong. The advertisement is effective because it was supported by the public for accepting interracial families as a normality and also the negative feedback that the ad received didn’t have an impact on sales, the advertisement was generally just despised by a certain group of consumers. If I was to draw away from all controversy I would change the family to a family that wasn’t interracial, but it could also go the other way where you could focus more on the interracial family and how happy they are together. By doing this Cheerios are then appealing to the wider population on acceptance of social norms. According to the trade press article the public reacted positively and negatively, they found that a lot of people supported their interracial couple ad whereas others were quite racist about the advertisement, because of this Cheerios found that they weren’t affected greatly in a negative way but were actually supported for their attempts.




Herper, M. (2013) Update: Hyundai apologizes for car ad depicting attempted suicide. Available at: (Accessed: 26 April 2016).

Goyette, B. (2013) Adorable Cheerios commercial gets racist backlash online. Available at: (Accessed: 26 April 2016).







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