Ford India went into full apology mode this weekend after a series of mock-up ads featuring bound and gagged women were published on the site Ads of the World. The images have since been removed, but have been republished on many sites including Slate, Fox News, and the Huffington Post.
While it should be noted these ads were never officially printed anywhere, it’s unclear why anyone at JWT India, the agency that created the images, thought the ad pictured above featuring a leering Silvio Berlusconi driving off with a trunk full of scantily clad women would be a good image to associate with the Indian-manufactured Ford Figo. The other mock-ups featured Paris Hilton winking as she kidnaps the Kardashian sisters and racecar driver Michael Schumacher leading rivals Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, and Lewis Hamilton away.
Business Insider reports the ads were created by a “a young creative team” at JWT India and that a team member posted the ads online without official approval. (As an aside, who wants to bet that there are no women on this young creative team? JWT is based in Delhi, so it’s hard to imagine these young ad executives have not been following the news lately.)
As for Ford itself, the company released a statement to Business Insider stating in part, “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.”