Hyundai removes blasphemous World Cup commercial

You have seen the kerfuffle about the Hyundai / FIFA ad for the ongoing World Cup, which – in a blasphemous manner – portrayed the fervor of some soccer fans as being religious.

I received an notice from a reader about a response he received from HYUNDAI:

From: Hyundai Consumer Affairs
To: ___
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2010 3:22 PM
Subject: Anti-catholic ad
Hello and thank you for your feedback regarding Hyundai advertising.

Hyundai Motor America would like to thank you and other consumers for sharing concerns about a new ad titled "Wedding" which aired during the opening games of the FIFA World Cup broadcast last week. We take comments of this nature very seriously. Because of feedback like yours, we have removed the ad from all Hyundai communications and stopped airing it.

We credit the passionate World Cup viewers and Hyundai owners for raising this issue to us. The unexpected response created by the ad, which combined both soccer and religious motifs to speak to the passion of international soccer fans, prompted us to take a more critical and informed look at the spot. Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive. We appreciate your feedback and hope you will accept our sincere apologies.

With appreciation,

Hyundai Motor America

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. greg the beachcomber says:

    I got the same letter. Chalk one up for the good guys.

  2. david andrew says:


    I’m glad we were successful in our efforts. Perhaps we “serious-minded” Catholics are beginning to retake possession of the public square.

  3. wanda says:

    Props to Hyundai. I received the letter as shown above from them. I wrote back and THANKED them for their prompt reply to me and for their swift action to remove the blasphemous commercial.

    I thank you, Fr. Z. for your post which brought it to our attention. I thank all who jumped all over this situation and took some action! Props!

  4. Father Bartoloma says:

    What a contrast it is when a company like Hyundai graciously and sensibly removes that ad, as opposed to the Empire State Building stubbornly still refuses to light up the building the colors for Mother Theresa!

  5. franciscanUTrad001 says:

    I had sent an e-mail to Hyundai concerning the ad on Friday and got a prompt response apologizing for the content. I am happy to hear that the ad was removed from broadcast.

  6. I also wrote a short thank you letter. Chalk up points for Hyundai removing the ad.

  7. Mike says:

    When good men and women do nothing, this kind of ad airs. I would love to know if any Catholics were a part of the ad company that put that together…I certainly hope not…if so, wow…

  8. Martial Artist says:

    A hearty Bravo Zulu1 to all those of you who sent a letter. I must have been out of the room when the ad ran, so hadn’t seen it.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

    *—BZ, or Bravo Zulu in the phonetic alphabet, is the naval code for “Well done”

  9. jpaluh says:

    I think their is more to the story than just Hyundai. I did some research and found out that the marketing company that created the commercial is Innocean Americas headed up by Mr. Jeff Spiegel, executive creative director. I would call his office also and complain. Attach are links from Hyundai and Innocean Americas. Call away!

  10. sejoga says:

    I actually wasn’t too terribly offended by the commercial since it seemed more to be a misguided attempt at humor that proved to be insensitive rather than a blatant mockery of the Church (like that Las Vegas ad about lesbian nuns a few weeks ago), but it’s nice to see that Hyundai has acknowledged the bad taste and are making amends.

    It’s pretty classy of them to apologize, and I can’t imagine that it would have hurt their bottom line to continue running the spot, so I feel like they’re probably being sincere.

  11. Frank H says:

    Good for Hyundai! Too bad the Empire State Building folks are not similarly responsive with the Mother Theresa issue…

  12. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    I was very surprised to see this show up just a couple minutes ago in my in box.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    I got the same letter a bit ago. Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. SPWang says:

    Same letter over here too.
    See it’s not that hard to get things done. :)

  15. AndyMo says:

    I think it’s good form to send Hyundai a quick thank-you note. I appreciate them responding quickly to the situation when it was brought to their attention.

    Their prompt response indicates that they didn’t intend to offend anyone. No excuses, just action. Good for them.

  16. Tiber89 says:

    Yes, I also received the same reply…I didn’t expect such a quick response…guess they must have received a lot of comments. Thank you Fr. Z for bringing this to our attention and thank you to everyone who responded!

  17. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    BTW the advertising agency Innocean Worldwide Americas, IS “in-house” (part of the same company).

    “The global review process was handled by Innocean, the in-house marketing services department at Hyundai Kia.” | Nov 6, 2009

    As someone else noted, the agency has a history of “edgy” advertising.

  18. RichR says:

    I got the same letter. I will have to tell my SIL who is looking to buy a Hyundai…but was waiting to see how they handled this little issue. Glad to see they are not too proud to admit when they’ve crossed a line.

  19. bruno says:

    I also got the same letter.

  20. Athelstan says:

    I just received my response – I am pleasantly surprised.

  21. revs96 says:

    This must be very recent as I saw the commercial several times this morning during the World Cup broadcasts.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    I did send a thank you note. And if anyone still thinks that there is no anti-Catholicism in America, go to the foxnews website at and look at the pages of comments on this story of Hyundai removing the ad. Many, many people hate us. Praise God and pray for our sad nation full of bigots and those who hate religion of any kind. I was disappointed in the Catholics who could not see the blasphemy. So many have become so desensitized to the beauty of their own faith.

  23. JonM says:

    Got this tonight.

    See what happens when the Body of Christ starts to work together!

  24. JonM says:

    Have to post this publicly…

    I’m not urging a boycott (as I was in my letter that I posted) in light of Hyundai’s very fast and fairly candid admission of making a mistake. This is a good opportunity to extend a hand of mercy.

  25. TrueLiturgy says:

    2-0 WDTPRSers. I say we tackle the Empire State Building next! :-)

  26. stjoeky says:

    Same response received here. Thanks, Fr. Z, for the alert! Bravo for Hyundai’s quick response. Hurray for us for making this ‘little’ effort.

  27. Girgadis says:

    I was pleased to receive the same response and I quickly emailed Hyundai and thanked them for doing the right thing. When someone admits they made a mistake and they go so far as to offer an apology, the right thing for me to do is accept it and move on.

  28. JohnE says:

    That’s rare to see a real apology, especially from a large corporation. Hyundai rises back up in my book.

  29. doanli says:

    Wow, how about that?

    These days, people usually get their jollies mocking the Church and no one apologizes.

    I’m impressed. Very.

  30. doanli says:

    Frank H,

    I heard on EWTN radio that there is a campaign in other NYC buildings to turn on blue and white lights.

    On her birthday, let’s all do the same in our own windows at home.

  31. Hoanyeon says:

    It’s just more sad that most American Catholics wouldn’t have recognized most of that commercial as even parodying Catholic liturgy. Procession of relics, communion on the tongue while kneeling, “Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi”, etc. No Average Catholic would know those things as being Catholic.

  32. QMJ says:

    Great letter from Hyundai. I have never seen a company acknowledge that what they did was insentive. Very good to see.

  33. poohbear says:

    [b]It’s just more sad that most American Catholics wouldn’t have recognized most of that commercial as even parodying Catholic liturgy. Procession of relics, communion on the tongue while kneeling, “Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi”, etc. No Average Catholic would know those things as being Catholic.

    Comment by Hoanyeon — 14 June 2010 @ 7:42 pm [/b]

    You have made this or a similar comment several times in the two posts about this commercial. Are you truly concerned about the knowledge level of the average Catholic, or just trying to insult them?

  34. New Sister says:

    I found their email apology insufficient – the ad was not “insensitive” but blasphemous. (and incredibly stupid) I wrote back demanding a public apology since they broadcast this to millions of people, not just to me.

    I think Hyundai should commission a chapel to Our Lady of Guadalupe to show their penitence is real.

  35. Geoffrey says:

    Kudos to Hyundai. They did the right thing.

  36. Sacristymaiden says:

    This is great that Hyundai has removed the ad. Isn’t there a link where one can send them a quick thank you?

  37. wanda says:

    There is a link further down at Fr. Z.’s origional post. It is a link to the Hyundai Consumer Affairs person. Hyundai did the right thing, a word of thanks is in order.

  38. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    While I wasn’t convinced that the ad was offensive (as it portrayed an actual group), I am glad that Hyundai took concerns into consideration and were able to see what many people saw in the ad. I have no idea how many complaints they may have gotten, but my guess is that many companies would not have stopped running an ad even after getting such a respons

  39. AnnaTrad51 says:

    I got my form letter too. It was good that they at least acknowledged in some part their failure (it was a little week) but at least they they replied. I have e-maid many other companies for varies reasons with no acknowledgement at all. I will send a note to them too.

  40. wanda says:

    True Liturgy, Great idea! Count me in. There may be some contact info at The Catholic League site.

  41. isabella says:

    Now *that* was an apology, as compared to the usual “I’m sorry that you were offended” corporate apology.

    I’m ready to trade in my Toyota, and Hyundai is back on my short list. The more recent ones are actually fairly good cars, as compared to the older ones. Still, I would not have even considered one if they hadn’t apologized. I think I’ll write and tell them that tomorrow.

  42. pfreddys says:

    OK, then, next time I’m shopping for a car, I will go back to considering a Hyundai.

  43. irishgirl says:

    Thank God this ad was dropped!

    I didn’t send an email to Hyundai myself, but i rejoice with all WDTPRSers that this was done!

  44. Hieronymus Illinensis says:

    Silly question, but I didn’t see the ad. From the bits of description I have heard, it sounds as if it were sacrilegious, or perhaps idolatrous, rather than blasphemous. How was it specifically blasphemous, if that can be stated without repeating the blasphemy?

  45. Ulrich says:

    Mocking about Eucharist (pizza), matrinomy (football playing), football carried in as sth venerable.
    Football as God.

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