Responding to “enough of an outcry” from Catholic individuals and blogs, Korean car maker Hyundai announced on Monday that it has pulled a World Cup-themed television ad that ran during the USA-England soccer match on Saturday featuring a "church" in Argentina mocking Catholic sacraments.
The ad depicts the ceremony of a “church” called "Iglesia Maradoniana" founded in Rosario, Argentina. The “church” was established in the spirit of both honoring Diego Armando Maradona -Argentina's top soccer player and current coach of its national team- as well as mocking the Catholic Church.
The ad presents elements of a Catholic ritual, but with Catholic symbolism heavily mixed with soccer imagery, while actor Jeff Bridges, the spot's narrator says: "All over the world, soccer is almost a religion... but for the members of one church in Argentina, it actually is."
Hyundai tried first to justify the ad claiming that it was based on the actual church in Argentina; but later, Hyundai spokesman apologized and announced the ad was being taken down.
“We got enough of an outcry that we think we missed the mark,” a Hyundai spokesman told the DailyFinance. “So we're going to do the right thing and pull it down.”
In a statement, the Korean company said: “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 this feedback and sincerely apologize to those we've offended.”
True to its word, Hyundai made all efforts possible to eliminate the ad from YouTube. Several links that originally led to the ad, now display a YouTube message stating, "this video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Innocean Americas."
Innocean Worlwide Americas is the California-based advertisement company that apparently created the ad.
Innocean's mission statement is: "Truly understand your client’s needs. Only then can you give them what they want."