Employees of advertising agency sacked over controversial Ford adverts


Employees of advertising agency sacked over controversial Ford adverts

Three adverts created by an Indian unit of advertising group WPP caused uproar on the Internet last week as they depicted various famous faces tied-up and gagged in the boot of a Ford vehicle.

One advert in particular pictured ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi behind the wheel of a Ford Figo while three scantily clad women lay bound and ball-gagged in the rear.

The ads were published days after India approved a tougher new law to punish sex crimes, following the fatal gang rape of a student in December. That attack sparked unprecedented protests over the treatment of women in the country.

The adverts, uploaded on an industry website, were created by individuals within JWT India, a unit of WPP, the world's biggest advertising group.

"We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency at JWT," a company statement said.

"These were never intended for paid publication, were never requested by our Ford client and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the Internet.

"These posters were created by individuals within the agency and did not go through the normal review and oversight process.

"After a thorough internal review, we have taken appropriate disciplinary action with those involved, which included the exit of employees at JWT," it said.

Ford India issued a statement expressing its regret over the adverts but refused to comment on whether it will be taking legal action against the advertising agency.

The other adverts featured Paris Hilton with the Kardashian sisters in a similar compromising situation and another with Michael Schumacher holding captive Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

The tagline for all three adverts was: "Leave your worries behind with Figo's extra large boot".