The powers-that-be at Hyundai assumed they had a homerun in their provocative commercial in the UK.  As the media have reported, it depicted a man, despair etched on his face, who has an abortive suicide attempt locking himself in the gargage and turning on the car.  That’s because the Hyundai technology has an advanced feature that won’t allow it.  The commercial pans with the man flipping on the gargage lights and walking sadly back to the house.

Long story short, the commercial triggered a global backlash to Brand Hyundai.  It will take a while before the company will regain the momentum it has gained in climbing out the discount-car hole to standing toe-to-toe with players like Ford and GM.

The issue here is how you can avoid such brand mistakes.  Here are 3 recommendations from Image Marketing Consultants.

Consider line between provocative and good taste.  Humor site THE ONION can violate good taste and get away with it.  But its core business is humor.  Hyundai’s core business has a lot to do with human safety and satisfaction.

Take into account national/global mood. These have been times of despair in many developed countries.  For example, people have been leaping from their property in Spain when the bank forecloses.

Err on side of caution.  Niche brands and startups can take on more risk than established brands like Hyundai.  WIth creativity you can stay within the lines.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, public relations, partnerships, social media, and special events needs