South Korea’s largest automaker, Hyundai have apologised for an online promotional film in which it has been heavily been criticised for.

The promotional film, titled Pipe Job was produced by a leading European marketing company, Innocean Worldwide Europe. The short two minute film portrays an unnamed male character attempting to commit suicide inside his Hyundai vehicle. The man is sat with all windows closed with a hose attached from the exhaust pipe into the cabin. However hours later, the man is seen leaving his car as the apparent suicide attempt is seen to be unsuccessful.

The rational of the film was to promote Hyundai’s new hydrogen fuel-cell, ix35 model. The tagline at the end of the film reads: “The ix35 with 100 per cent water emissions.”

The short film has attracted widespread criticism on social media sites across the world. A well-known London based advertiser, Holly Brockwell, whose own father committed suicide in his car has said: “As an advertising creative, I would like to congratulate you on achieving the visceral reaction we all hope for. When your ad started to play, and I saw the beautifully-shot scenes of taped-up car windows with exhaust feeding in, I began to shake. I shook so hard that I had to put down my drink before I spilt it. And then I started to cry. Surprisingly, when I reached the conclusion of your video, where we see that the man has in fact not died thanks to Hyundai’s clean emissions, I did not stop crying. I understand better than most people the need to do something newsworthy, something talk able, even something outrageous to get those all-important viewing figures. What I don’t understand is why a group of strangers have just brought me to tears in order to sell me a car.”

Hyundai has said that it has not endorsed the advert and has never hosted it on any Hyundai website.

A spokesperson for Hyundai has said: “Hyundai Motor UK had no involvement with this film and Hyundai Motor Company did not request the film to be made, nor was it asked to approve it. Hyundai Motor deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive viral film. The film runs counter to our values as a company and as members of the community. We are very sorry for any offense or distress the video caused.”

Innocean Worldwide Europe has said: “Innocean Worldwide deeply and sincerely apologizes for any offense or distress that the posting of the viral film may have caused. This viral film was created and posted on Youtube for one day by Innocean Worldwide Europe to get consumers’ feedback on creative idea employing hyperbole to dramatize a product advantage without any other commercial purpose. Nevertheless, as a company that espouses strong family values, Innocean would never intentionally set out to cause distress. More to the point, Innocean apologizes to those who have been personally impacted by tragedy.”