Society
Society

Ford Apologizes for Women in Bondage Car Ads

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Ford is apologizing today for an offensive car ad featuring a caricature of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the front seat of a Ford Figo with three scantily-clad, crying women tied up and gagged in the trunk. 

Berlusconi, who was charged with soliciting sex from a woman under the age of 18 in Feb. 2011, sits in the front seat of the car holding up a peace sign. The tag line reads, "Leave Your Worries Behind. With Figo’s extra large boot."

Ford said its advertising agency posted the ads to the website Ads of the World without permission. The same Indian advertising agency, JWT India, also posted ads featuring Paris Hilton winking from the front seat with the Kardashian sisters tied up in the back. 

Ford issued this statement apologizing for the ads:

"We deeply regret this incident and agree with our agency partners that it should have never happened," the statement read. "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."

The leaked ads come just after the Indian Parliament passed a new anti-rape law on Thursday to address violence against women.

It is unclear what cost the ads will take on Ford in India. Ford did have healthy sales gains there due in large part to the Figo.

WPP Group, which holds JWT India, told Business Insider, "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.”

(NBC NewsBusiness Insider, Autoblog)