Hyundai's "Duh" ads, you may recall from this very site some months ago, suck. They're supremely annoying, curiously vague, and obnoxiously smug. But at least they didn't used to look like this:
Here is how the conversation went when this ad first came on:
Knitwear M. Groundhog: At least they picked secular songs. Oh wait, here comes a lamb. Where's God?
Windier E. Megatons: Maybe God's the car.
I mean, way to go, Hyundai. Take the worst of your own ads - the stupid faux-scat-singing, the awful smugness of your announcer - and then combine that with the worst of Mazda's ads! The choir, the positioning of the car as a religious icon being worshipped... seriously, nice job. Utterly savvy marketing sense. As usual, nothing says Christmas like crass commercialism.
Of course, you'll note that Hyundai pointedly uses only secular songs - other ads I've seen in this series have used "O Tannenbaum" and "Carol of the Bells," neither of which is overtly religious in the way that, say, the otherwise mainstream "Joy to the World" is. "Winter Wonderland" is particularly secular in that it doesn't even mention Christmas by name (nor does the ad itself), and for that matter it's not even set in a specific month; the lyrical happenings could well be taking place in February (ironically, that link calls it a Christmas song several times despite the fact that it's nowhere in the lyrics).
The question becomes this: is it more sacrilegious or less sacrilegious if you use a totally secular Christmas song and then put a traditional representation of Jesus - the lamb - into the middle of your ad? I think it's pretty bad either way. There are only two explanations here. One is that Hyundai didn't know that the lamb is a common representation of Jesus (unlikely); the other is that they actively wanted that association. If they wanted it, are they really trying to suggest that Jesus would want you to buy a Hyundai? Even in the Mazda tradition, that seems awfully blasphemous. So let's give Hyundai the benefit of the doubt; maybe we should be seeing the lamb being brought forward as part of a presentation scene. Perhaps the car is for the lamb - i.e., Jesus.
[Setting: Nazareth, 16 AD]
Balthasar: Happy birthday, Jesus.
Jesus: Oh man, a car! This rules! Thanks, Balthasar, you're the greatest!
Melchior: Hey, uh, Balthasar, can we talk to you for a minute?
Balthasar: What's up, guys?
Caspar: I thought we went over this, dude. You were supposed to get him myrrh, just like I got the frankincense, and Melchior got the gold... same thing we do every year.
Balthasar: Okay, you know what, you guys got the useful gifts. Myrrh? Fucking myrrh? That's like the shittiest gift ever. "Here you go, Jesus, something that's only useful if you want to work in a funeral home." And you guys won't ever let me give him the gold once and say it's from me. So yeah, I saved up and got him a car. He's 16, he's got his license now, whatever!
Melchior: Just... you know, we're gonna seem like cheapskates now.
Caspar: Whatever, man, you get him gold every year! How do you think I feel?
Melchior: You see, Balthasar? Now Caspar's crying. I hope you're feeling really good about yourself.
I hope Hyundai is feeling really good about themselves as well. It's bad enough you're going to insult the intelligence of the viewer - now you're trying to imply that Jesus himself approves of your cars? Next time maybe stick with that first secular impulse and display your Motor Trend award like Mazda did. Oh, I guess you didn't win one. Duh.