Car giant Ford has landed itself in hot water in India after running an advert for its new Figo model that depicted a cartoon Silvio Berlusconi in the driving seat – and three women tied up in the boot.
Produced by Indian advertising agency JWT the campaign runs with the slogan ‘Leave your worries behind with the Figo’s extra-large boot’ but has provoked scorn from women’s rights campaigners.
Commenting on the piece Dr Ranjana Kumari, said: “They’re comparing women with baggage… you don’t do this when a whole nation is angry about rapes.”
Ford has sought to distance itself from the advertisement stating that it had not authorised its publication.
Business Insider said a young creative team at JWT India, Ford Figo's agency of record, made the ad along with another two and posted them to the website Ads of the World without approval. There is no Figo ad there now.
WPP said the ads should never have been created in the first place.
"We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group," the statement said.
"These were never intended for paid publication and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the internet. "
In a statement Ford said: “We deeply regret this incident and agree with our agency partners that it should have never happened.”