Banned Dutch TV Commercial Uses Horror to Sell Hyundai Veloster
The Hyundai Veloster’s name sounds a bit like Velociraptor (which people know as the vicious predator dinosaur in Jurassic Park, which the moviemakers actually modeled on the more dangerous-looking Deinonychus). And a now-banned Dutch TV commercial about the car (see video below) actually features the Grim Reaper, whose appearance is as scary as a ferocious dinosaur.
The TV spot, complete with a thriller/horror movie soundtrack, is designed to highlight the fact that the Veloster purposely lacks a driver’s side rear door to prevent rear-seat passengers from exiting on the left side, where they could get hit by traffic. But the car company presents the feature in a more positive light on its website, HyundaiUSA.com, with the following phrase: “And true to its concept car roots, the 3rd door adds functionality and makes for a grand entrance for your rear-seat passengers.”
As with the proverbial half-full/half-empty metaphor, online viewers of the banned commercial and the promotional website get to choose how to think of the car’s having three doors: Is it a sports car to which one rear door has been added? Or is a sedan lacking one of its rear doors?
Noah Joseph gives his opinion on autoblog.com:
Now, the Dutch are known for their open-mindedness, so you’d have to figure anything they’d censor off their airwaves would have to be pretty bad. Right? Well, sorta. It’s a little morbid, the spot that revolves around the Angel of Death and the benefits of not having a street-side passenger door. Never mind the fact that actually promoting the lack of a certain feature on a car — in this case, on the Hyundai Veloster — as a safety measure is a rather dubious claim in the first place.
Autoblog.com asked its readers their opinion on the banned commercial and got the following results:
Did this Hyundai ad deserve to be taken off the air?
Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! 256 (22.1%)
No! What was so wrong about that? 901 (77.9%)
The Veloster’s name is a hybrid of “velocity” and “roadster.” The concept for it was first shown at the 2007 Seoul Motor Show and the Veloster was released this past January at the Detroit auto show. The car is equipped with many safety features in addition to the lack of a driver’s side rear door, including a Vehicle Management System, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Anti-lock Braking System — all to help prevent car accidents — and Blue Link® service, which detects when any of the car’s six airbags have deployed, pinpointing the car’s location and sending help.
But, on the subject of safety features, at least one comment below an insideonline.com article about a road test of the Veloster mentions that the car needs better visibility in the rear. A motorcyclist named “compressor” writes:
I think it looks nice, but — and its a HUGE BUT — the rear hatch needs way more glass. In fact, the whole thing should be glass (or at least as much as possible). And the rear pillar needs a slim down. For now, I be sure to not ride my motorcycle anyway near this thing.
Visibility, it seems, is appreciate by neither safety agencies, manufacturers, or consumers. In this era of ‘safety above all else’ this seems strange.
See for yourself. Here’s the banned TV commercial (which you don’t need to speak Dutch to get the gist of):
Image by Hyundai, used under Fair Use: Reporting.