A Controversy With an Advertisement from the Super Bowl

Sarah+Mack+%E2%80%9819%2C+a+board+member+of+the+environmentalist+club%2C+LEAP%2C+believes+the+Hyundai+advertisement+perpetuates+stereotypes+and+discourages+people+from+trying+out+a+healthy+and+environmentally+friendly+diet.

Abigail Aronson

Sarah Mack ‘19, a board member of the environmentalist club, LEAP, believes the Hyundai advertisement perpetuates stereotypes and discourages people from trying out a healthy and environmentally friendly diet.

Every year on the long-awaited day of the Super Bowl comes an array of new, specialized televised advertisements. The 2019 Super Bowl featured advertisements for Amazon’s Alexa, Bud Light, Netflix, M&M’s, Bumble, Hulu, Mercedes-Benz, and more. Many of these companies put a creative spin on their advertisements and provide additional entertainment for Super Bowl watchers.

However, one ad for Hyundai, a motor company, proved to be controversial. The ad starred Jason Bateman as an elevator operator, with a couple entering a stuffed elevator. Bateman brings them down each floor, opening at notorious scenarios: the middle seat of a plane, jury duty, a root canal, the “talk”, and the provoking stop: a vegan dinner party with “beetloaf.”

Veganism and vegetarianism are often disregarded as anything more than a trend. This ad is another tiring example of a company beating the dead comedy horse in a poor attempt to appeal to the majority of non-vegetarian customers that have negative opinions on replacing meat with simply better alternatives,” said Clare Hong ’21.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) then spoke out against this ad for having compared a “vegan dinner party” to unpleasant activities. PETA is an advocacy group for animal rights and ending animal testing. According to ‘USA Today,’ PETA tweeted: “The trend of 2019 is taking the elevator UP to vegan dinner parties (& an Earth, heart, & animal-friendly lifestyle). Instead of buying a car from people with outdated ideas, we suggest a vegan Smartcar by Mercedes. Great mileage & acceleration, turns on a dime.” The post was aimed at criticizing Hyundai for ridiculing the vegan lifestyle. According to ‘The Washington Post,’ “ … vegans felt personally attacked. Why should their decision to live a planet-friendly, animal-cruelty-free lifestyle be comparable to a colonoscopy or a root canal or a teenager getting “the talk” and hearing about how ‘even Grandma’s body changed.’” In protest against Hyundai, some people on Twitter claimed they were looking to purchase a new car, and that it would certainly not be Hyundai. Hyundai defended themselves, saying that they respected veganism and were happy that it has become mainstream.

The Bronx Science community has a lot to say about the advertisement and its poking fun at a popular diet and lifestyle. On Hyundai’s perceived insult, Sarah Mack ’19, board member of the school’s environmentalist club, League of Animal and Environmental Protection, says “It’s not too harmful, and people tend to not take it seriously, but it perpetuates stereotypes and discourages people from trying out a healthy and environmentally friendly diet.” According to the Vegan Society, veganism is a way of living that avoids the exploitation of or cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or anything else. The diet is very pro-environment, and encourages a healthy way of eating. Clare Hong ’21, also a board member of LEAP, explains, “Veganism and vegetarianism are often disregarded as anything more than a trend. This ad is another tiring example of a company beating the dead comedy horse in a poor attempt to appeal to the majority of non-vegetarian customers that have negative opinions on replacing meat with simply better alternatives.” It was insensitive for the motor company to mock a lifestyle that should be respected and appreciated, and even perhaps tried by others.

The Super Bowl advertisements were viewed by the 98.2 million who watched the game. Those 98.2 million people most likely watched the Hyundai advertisement that included a “vegan dinner party” with “beetloaf” in its elevator going down to unpleasant stops. The advertisement was intended to be humorous, but instead caused considerable offense. In the future, advertisements should focus on promoting their product in a positive light, instead of putting down an entire community in front of millions.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email