Boo! Five Car Ads That Are The Worst, Sexist and Epic Fails

Read this article in Bahasa Malaysia here

Advertisements are an artful way of conveying a message and it’s not easy to get them right. Even big advertisers make big boo-boos and experience backlash in the form of boycotts and decreased sales. Here are five ads by some of the world’s top automakers that will cause facepalms: –

  1. Hyundai’s Suicide Ad

This ad by Hyundai, boasting about their new, 100% water-emission car, was severely criticised. It showed a man who failed in his suicide attempt when he attached a hose to the exhaust of his Hyundai car leading into the cabin.

The company’s insensitivity and laid-back attitude towards mental health caused the public to protest, especially among the families of suicide victims who found the ad to be “disgusting”:



Skoda took a hit in Ireland because of this ad. It likens choosing a car to a groom choosing between the bride, returning her to her Daddy (as if she were a thing) or trading her for her younger sister (sexist and ageist). The public called the company out for their sexist ad because, well, you cannot treat women like you treat cars.

3. BMW – Sexually Active Women equal Used Cars?

Maybe BMW was just trying to sell cars without showing a car. They promoted ‘BMW’s Premium Selection Used Cars’ in Greece by portraying a young girl with a come-hither look and the caption “You know you’re not the first…but do you really care?”. So, a new car is a virgin and a used car equals a woman who’s not? Unsurprisingly, comparing a woman’s chastity with the state of a car didn’t sit well with the women there.

4. Volkswagen – The Suicide Bomber

This ad starts with a man whose attire hints “terrorist!” getting into a Volkwagen Polo. He drives to and stops in front of an alfresco cafe and pushes the trigger on a bomb. He explodes. Alone. Inside the car.

Why? To show how safe the Polo is, we’re guessing. But Volkswagen was quick to issue a statement that the video wasn’t from them. Hmm…


This is a weird one. It starts with a besuited man entering a juice bar and orders a ‘boring’ menu item made differently with some apple juice. He then leaves the store and repeats “apple juice” for the rest of the 1-minute ad, whilst a group of 20 dancers joins him. It is only in the last 10 seconds that they surround a 1998 Toyota Corolla.

Okay, they were trying to promote a car that had been around for decades even in ’98. But is this a juice or car commercial?

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