The short ad, dubbed “The Elevator”, stars actor Jason Bateman and sees him posing as a lift attendant who takes passengers through a series of unpleasant scenarios taking place on different floors before promoting the car company’s shopper assurance programme.
Activities on the “bad” floors include root canal, jury duty, sitting in the middle seat on a plane and finally, a vegan dinner party, in which someone offers Bateman a bright purple “beet-loaf” dish.
Upon arriving at the floor, Bateman asks: “A vegan dinner party… is that even a thing?” before one of the passengers gags at the sight of the beet-loaf.
When the passengers say they’ve come to buy a Hyundai, the elevator goes up and takes them to a “car shopping” floor.
The ad has been accused of shaming vegans by social media users.
PETA tweeted: “The trend of 2019 is taking the elevator UP to vegan dinner parties (and an Earth, heart, and animal-friendly lifestyle).
“Instead of buying a car from people with outdated ideas, we suggest a vegan smartcar by Mercedes. Great mileage and acceleration, turns on a dime.”
Others concurred that Hyundai had missed the mark.
“The less than subtle vegan shaming in the Hyundai Super Bowl ad? Wow,” wrote one person on Twitter.
“Vegan dinner party is hell? Come on Hyundai. Mocking people who care about animals is not cool. Way to alienate your demographic,” another added.
The backlash has prompted Hyundai to respond to some people in a bid to make amends, writing: “We actually love vegan food and are glad it’s going more mainstream” in one tweet.
One vegan person said the ad made them rethink their choice of car.
“Man, I love my ‘13 Elantra, but if y’all are just gonna insult a huge part of my life like that I’ll find something else for my next car,” to which Hyundai responded by writing: “Nothing wrong with being vegan. That guy just doesn’t like beetloaf. We’re really lucky to have you in the Hyundai family.”
The Independent has contacted Hyundai for comment.
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