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[VIDEO] Hyundai Stirs Controversy with “Crushing” New Commercials

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Hyundai Better is the Reason controversial commercials crusher

Throughout the years, there have been an incalculable amount of car commercials produced and aired. Some of them–especially around the Super Bowl–are funny, some of them are cheesy, most of them are lackluster…and some make you wonder, “Who approved this idea?”

An ad–whether for cars or any other product–can be made with the best intentions but strike the audience in a far different manner than what was intended. Today’s case: Hyundai’s recent series of “Better Is the Reason” ads.

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The first Better Is the Reason commercial entitled “Lift” features a fairly harmless premise: a Hyundai Tucson and and Ford Escape are compared to see which is better.

The scenario involves an innocent, civilian driver sitting in each of the two vehicles, which are parked in a testing facility where men in white safety suits are running tests and taking notes. After comparing the fueling costs, repair costs, and overall cost-to-own, Hyundai is determined to be better, with Ford losing the comparison. In the process, the Ford Escape is lifted into the air and dangled far above the ground, much to the fear of the driver still in it.

The video received a substantial amount of views on YouTube, and generally positive reactions–with a couple viewers who accused Hyundai of being “rude.”



The second Better Is the Reason commercial posted to YouTube is titled “Grind,” and it’s where controversy begins to stir.

The setup is the same–this time the Hyundai Sonata is compared to the Toyota Camry. Because the Camry does not have the panoramic sunroof, Android Auto, or a great warranty that the Sonata does, the Camry is slowly pushed into a giant metal grinder–with its driver still inside it. Obviously, the man freaks out and ditches the car in favor of hopping in the Sonata, but audiences didn’t find this funny.

It’s very dark humor, and many viewers unfortunately took the message to be that if they didn’t buy a Hyundai, they should endure physical danger.


The next commercial continues the same trend, this time with the Santa Fe Sport going toe-to-toe against the Ford Edge. The active safety features of the compact SUVs (camera system, auto-braking, and warranty), and as expected, Hyundai comes out on top.

But the Edge’s fate is much worse this time than simply being lifted into the air. Both vehicles are situated on giant catapults–and the lab testers in white suits are getting ready to fling the Edge with the driver still in it. Luckily, they let her exit the vehicle before firing it, but viewers didn’t seem to like–or recognize the presence of–the joke. Commentors were scratching their heads why Hyundai thought this concept was funny.


The commercial receiving the most controversy was “Crusher,” between the Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic. Obviously, from the title, it doesn’t go nicely. Because the Civic lacks the Elantra’s hands-free smart trunk, exceptional warranty, and customer loyalty following, it goes into the car crusher–with the driver still in it. As expected, the video received a lot of down-votes.

You can make a lot of interesting observations about these commercials and how viewers react. What’s interesting is that the testing facility is never technically revealed to have any ties to Hyundai or to explain why it’s testing with people in the cars, yet people assume it’s there’s malevolent intent. Perhaps the commercials are symbolically illustrating how putting your safety into other brands is a “dangerous move”?

In honesty, these series of ads are a small hiccup in the long line of clever, entertaining commercials released by Hyundai over the years and would’ve been rejected with more focus group testing before being released. We blame it on all the pent-up aggression that the 2016 Presidential elections are causing.

What’s the Better Choice? Should you lease or finance that car?