Ad Age is reporting that Ford’s advertising agency, JWT, has fired the ad agency staffers behind a pair of offensive ads showing bound and gagged women in the back of a Ford Figo hatchback. Ford is not, however, looking to change advertising companies over the fiasco. The images were created by JWT staffers in India and then uploaded to the ad agency’s website. Such ads are often created without client approval as a way for ad designers to bolster their portfolios and were never intended to become part of Ford’s official campaign to promote the Figo.
With sexual assaults very much in the news in India the ad could not have been released at a worse tim. One of the images show former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was center of a storm of controversy regarding his alleged sexual adventures, with several women bound and gagged in the back of the car . A similar image shows reality TV star Paris Hilton with her reality rivals, the Kardashians, in a similar situation.
Although they bear no responsibility for the ads, Ford has added its apologies to those of the ad agency.