Ford's Fail

Source: Ads of the World.

Source: Ads of the World.

Ford has come under heavy criticism and issued a subsequent apology over an advertising campaign which depicts celebrities bound, gagged and stuffed into the boot of an Indian-made small sedan.

Three separate posters have emerged online attempting to showcase the Ford Figo, a compact hatchback built for the Indian domestic market which isn't sold in Australia.

The images were reportedly produced by an Indian advertising firm during one of its brainstorming sessions for Ford, but weren’t supposed to be uploaded online.

Source: Ads of the World.

Source: Ads of the World.

“[We] deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group,” a statement from the agency read on the UK’s Daily Mail website.

“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.”

The drawings attempt to exploit the Figo’s spacious cargo area with the punch line: ‘Leave your worries behind with the Figo’s extra-large boot’.

One drawing features Paris Hilton with reality television counterparts Khloe, Kourtney and Kim Kardashian, who are tied up and bound while they squeeze into the back of the car. 

In a second drawing, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi poses with three scantily clad women who are similarly bound and tied. 

A third version shows Formula One driver Michael Schumacher behind the wheel of the car while his race car rivals, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso suffer in the back.

Ford has also issued a strongly-worded apology and condemned the agency over the drawings.

“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 company said in a statement.

 

10 comments

  • These ads were most likely produced as scam [not real, but run once so they can be entered into awards]
    I am sure JWT and Ford did not expect that they would be picked up globally.
    This is not clever advertising, in fact poor and would never have won an award anyway.
    This is the problem with advertising today - the me generation of FB, Youtube and anything to be noticed. The digital world falls in on them. haha, serves them right.

    As for the content - let's say no more, not clever, offensive and bad taste.

    Commenter
    Scam Ad
    Date and time
    March 26, 2013, 9:21AM
    • Great marketing - now it's getting free ads run on international news websites! Just another clever campaign.

      I can't imagine that this ad actually caused any harm or significant outrage.

      Commenter
      Kris
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 26, 2013, 9:41AM
      • Because women bound and gagged is all just lols, right? And it's not like there's been big problems lately with sexual violence and maltreatment of women in India.

        Oh wait.

        Commenter
        pb
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        March 26, 2013, 9:46AM
      • Yeah no significant harm done.
        Who cares if we promote women as being there for the taking.
        Who cares if we tie them up and gag them and throw them in a boot.
        Who cares if they are barely dressed.

        And this, in a country that has serious problems with raping and murdering their women.

        No harm done? Get real. Rape culture thrives on this sort of thing, and for a company such as Ford, this is not forgivable. You can't even begin to guage the harm done.

        Commenter
        RJ
        Date and time
        March 26, 2013, 11:06AM
      • Whilst I agree with pb and RJ.

        I think there is a level of selective journalism here.

        It states there was a third ad with a man with three men in the boot. But for some reason it is not shown, as it would not support the basis of this article.

        Balance please.

        Commenter
        SmallTalk
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        March 26, 2013, 1:13PM
    • Where is the image of the men tied up? Perhaps a fourth image of Taylor Swift with her boytoys would have caused less offense.

      Commenter
      Titus
      Date and time
      March 26, 2013, 9:42AM
      • Clearly it is bad advertising and false.
        I bet you can't get 3 bodies in the back.

        Commenter
        Packer
        Date and time
        March 26, 2013, 10:26AM
        • ... disgusting, absolutely disgusting... -- no matter are these men or women, celebrities or not, stuffed in the boot of the car... absolutely disgusting...
          ... and... these adds were produced by presumably well educated, intelligent ... modern people...??? oh, I forget...they have rape culture over there....where the perpetrators plead not guilty...

          Commenter
          mama
          Date and time
          March 26, 2013, 2:44PM
          • Did no one above read the story?

            The ads weren't paid for, authorised by or run by Ford. Their ad agency in India did them as part of a brainstorming session and the little scamps in the creative dept uploaded them off their own bat - presumably without corporate permission either.

            ie no one in the ad agency or Ford signed off on them.

            Storm meet teacup.

            Commenter
            Chairman Miaow
            Date and time
            March 26, 2013, 3:12PM
            • "Ford has come under heavy criticism and issued a subsequent apology over an advertising campaign..."

              "The images were reportedly produced by an Indian advertising firm during one of its brainstorming sessions for Ford, but weren’t supposed to be uploaded online."

              Three artist sketches drawn during a brainstorming session is not 'an advertising campaign'.

              The whole point of brainstorming is to throw out every idea you can think of and see what works. This pretty obviously wouldn't have worked.

              Commenter
              DM
              Date and time
              March 26, 2013, 4:08PM
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