Truth Versus Advertising: It's A Safety Feature!

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

When Mercedes featured hooded death in an ad for its Brake Assistance System, our own European automotive advertising veteran, Bertel Schmitt, wrote

never in my life would I have expected to see the grim reaper in a car ad. Especially not in the death seat. Especially not in a Mercedes ad. The boys from Sindelfingen never were known for their daredevil approach to advertising. Even at Volkswagen, which used to take more risk in their campaigns (

Of course, most Americans wouldn’t bat an eye at an ad featuring death… from politics to sales, our culture is built on scaring people into buying/accepting things. But this Dutch ad for the Hyundai Veloster, which was apparently approved and then banned, would have caused a few quizzical looks in any country. Not because it features death incarnate, but because advertising the Veloster’s freaky three-door layout as a safety feature is just that absurd. This ad should never have seen the light of day for the simple reason that it’s an old-school and utterly conventional approach (by banned-ad standards, anyway) to marketing one of the few cars on the market that is willfully and unnecessarily unique, simply for the sake of being unique. Surely, in this age of appliance-like cars, conventional styling and unadventurous product planning, uniqueness is enough of a marketing hook on its own…

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
4 of 22 comments
  • Dwight Dwight on Aug 23, 2011

    Veloster? What type of contraption is a Veloster? Sounds like a bicycle with two wheels up front and a huge basket in the rear and loaded with reflectors and streamers. Oh, it's a car. Nice. Looks good. Stupid name.

  • Shaker Shaker on Aug 24, 2011

    Well, if you're going to have a single door for the rear passengers, the curb side would be the place to put it. As to RHD countries, it's unclear whether Hyundai will make a "mirror image" chassis - if they don't, then this ad would be evidence that those unfortunates in RHD countries are "expendable". That blathered, I'd buy this car because it IS different (and efficient, and sporty, and a hatch). I also like the "athletic shoe" look, at least in pictures. Can't wait to see one in person (c'mon Hyundai, summer is almost over!) We'll just have to see if the DCT is a better effort than that in the Focus/Fiesta.

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Aug 24, 2011

    I like the ad for the fact that it took a little risk in advertising, but selling it as a 'safety feature' is a little lame.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Aug 24, 2011
    selling it as a ‘safety feature’ is a little lame. The ad was tongue-in-cheek.