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Ford India's new ads for its Figo hatch ends up in controversy

By PetrolHead on 26 Mar 2013

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An advertising campaign by Ford India to promote the 'extra-large boot' of its Ford Figo Hatchback has caused a controversy in the country after the advertising material was deemed 'offensive'.

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A trio of posters with the tagline, 'Leave your worries behind' have been produced by JWT India - the Indian arm of JWT - one of the largest advertising agencies in the United States and the fourth-largest in the world.

The posters are similar in nature which basically depicts a kidnapping situation of sorts by Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Paris Hilton or Michael Schumacher in the driver's seat with three hostages, tied-up and gagged.

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The first caricature shows Silvio Berlusconi throwing a peace sign and looks rather pleased with his catch - three well-endowed women in the back seat, all tied up and wearing a ball gag.

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The second caricature shows a Paris Hilton-like figure winking from the driverís seat with three siblings (the news source identifies the three ladies to be the kardashian sisters) are tied up at the back.

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The last caricature is probably the least offensive - with seven-time champion Michael Schumacher on the driverís seat as Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso are at the back. They are all tied up with their mouths sealed.

As a car person I found the example of Schumacher not appropriate because, he has already retired from the sport and since Fiat owns Ferrari - shouldn't it be Alonso in the driver's seat 'kidnapping' Vettel (after last year's heated battle for the championship), Hamilton (remember the time they were team mates?) and Raikkonen?

Well personally I find the ads 'average'. It is funny and even without the tagline; it sends the message across almost effortlessly. But having said so, releasing this advert in India during a time where the media is focusing on women's rights, protection and not to mention the recent spike in rape cases justifies the uproar caused by the Indian media.

Ford and its advertising agency JWT India have since apologised for the incident.

Statement from Ford India
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.

Statement from JWT India
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.

Viewed: 1,210 times

Written by PetrolHead
A passionate motoring enthusiast since little, Akram's articles gives alternative insights on the latest motoring news.

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