Ford Motors India has apologised for an offensive ad which features caricatures of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and a bunch of scantily-clad women who are gagged and placed in the trunk of the Figo model.
The ad which is created by the JWT India, the Indian wing of New York based global advertising giant JWT, appeared on the website 'Ads of the World' reportedly without approval. The three print ads were designed to showcase the boot space of the Ford Figo and appeared within a tagline "Leave Your Worries Behind with the Figo's extra-large boot."
In one of the ads, JWT featured three skimpily clad women gagged and bounded in the trunk of the Figo with M Silvio Berlusconi who is at the wheel flashing a peace sign. In a second ad, the same situation is shown with the three Kardashian sisters in the trunk and Paris Hilton winking from the driver's seat. The last ad shows Michael Schumacher with three gagged F1 competitors.
The ads didn't appear on any of the paid media channels, but have created uproar at a time when India is making stringent laws to prevent crimes against women. Also, the country is in the midst of trying to dissolve the diplomatic standoff with Italy regarding the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines.
Ford India rendered an apology saying that it what has happened is unfortunate. "We deeply regret this incident and agree with our agency partners that it should have never happened. The posters are contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford and our agency partners. Together with our partners, we are reviewing approval and oversight processes to help ensure nothing like this ever happens again."
The WPP group too apologized for the mistake. "We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group. These were never intended for paid publication and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the Internet. This was the result of individuals acting without proper oversight and appropriate actions have been taken within the agency where they work to deal with the situation."