Ford Motor Company’s Indian unit and an advertising agency are in hot water for an advertisement showing former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with a group of bound women in the boot of a car.
An image of Berlusconi is in the driver's seat of the car with a slogan: "Leave your worries behind with Figo's extra-large boot." It was one of a series of three frames showing troubled celebrities solving their problems through kidnapping.
Berlusconi, btw, is charged with having sex with an underage prostitute and using his position to try and cover it up.
The ad was not published or used, but rather released by the JWT India Advertising Agency. That’s JWT as in “J. Walter Thompson”, the fourth largest ad agency in the world with 149 years of institutional knowledge that might have led someone to realize this was an incredibly dumb idea.
Why JWT India would release it is a mystery, considering the sensitive times in India. The country is reexamining its treatment of women as it reels from a series of gang rapes, including one in which a medical student was mortally wounded, and the attack of a Swiss national on a bicycling trip.
The advertising agency said it never should have happened.
Ford’s tone is much more stern, saying the imaged are “contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford.
“We deeply regret this incident and agree with our agency partners that it should have never happened,” Ford said.