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Ford and JWT eat humble pie with misguided creative

One ad shows a beaming Berlusconi with skimpily clad women bundled into the Figo’s boot. Another shows Paris Hilton with the Kardashian sisters bundled in the boot. They were posted online on Ads of the World without approval   

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | March 25, 2013

Ford Figo Print Ad starring Silvio Berlusconi
Ford Figo Print Ad starring Paris Hilton
Ford Figo Print Ad starring Michael Schumacher

This is a creative that has gone horribly wrong and left Ford India and its agency, JWT India, red in the face. The JWT India team, which created the ad, posted it online on the website, Ads of the World, apparently without official approval. It has since been removed and was never formally aired. But the damage had already been done.

To showcase the new Ford Figo’s boot space, the JWT India creative team played on former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s scandal-ridden  history of sex scandals, widely reported by the international news media, including semi-naked women dancing at his private parties referred to as ‘bunga bunga’ parties, and his trial for soliciting an underage girl for sex. The ad has used a beaming Berlusconi as a prop, showing him with skimpily clad women bundled into the Figo’s boot. Berlusconi is shown looking back from the driver’s seat and flashing a peace sign.

The tagline reads “Leave your worries behind with Figo’s extra-large boot.”

In another ad, American hotel heiress Paris Hilton is depicted in a similar situation with the women of the Kardashian family bundled into the Figo’s spacious boot.

The third ad though, shows Michael Schumacher in the driver’s seat with other F1 driver’s like Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton stuffed into the Figo’s boot.

Said a report in “A young creative team at JWT India really messed up when they posted an unapproved ad for Ford depicting the Kardashians bound and gagged in the trunk of a car, with Paris Hilton in the driver’s seat!”

To control the huge damage caused, Ford India in a statement said: “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.”

On its part, WPP said: “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.”

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