an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Hyundai: Because Kids are Dumb

Posted by Rosepixie on May 23, 2010

Hyundai recently came out with a couple of commercials for their cars (the Tuscon and Sonata are the ones mentioned) with a common theme.

Both of these ads mock teenagers and play on the common adult prejudices against them.  They give statistics about how many new teen drivers will “join you on the road” this year and encourage you to get a car with better safety features.  Because obviously, all of those teenagers are a major threat and are more likely to kill you than not, right?

What the ads don’t show is anything actually relating to teenagers driving.  They show teenagers doing other things (playing a videogame that is all about not driving sanely and something completely random with a giant slingshot), but we never see a teen in a car or hear any information about how many of those teens will get into accidents or what kinds of accidents or anything useful like that.  It’s entirely a scare tactic.

And that’s really why I don’t like these commercials.  I hate ads that use scare tactics.  They’re incredibly disrespectful to their customers.  Not to mention that this one seems to ignore the idea the perhaps if these cars have such great safety features maybe the very people they should be marketing them to is those teen drivers and their parents, who are much more likely to need the safety features than just some random person who’s irrationally afraid of teenagers.

There’s a great post about these ads over at FiveThirtyEight that points out that elderly drivers are the other major group disproportionately involved in a large number of accidents on the road, but they would never be the targets of such ads like teenagers are here because they have political representation in a way that kids and teenagers don’t.  It’s a great post and well worth reading.

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