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Ford India apologises for ‘distasteful’ advert

Leave your tact behind: WPP Group used bondage and abduction to promote the Ford Figo in India.

Adverts for Australian-designed Ford Figo cause outrage


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27 Mar 2013

A CAR penned in Ford’s Australian design studio is embroiled in controversy after it featured in ads showing bound and gagged women.

Ford India has apologised for the series of three adverts that sparked outrage after portraying several public figures with bound and gagged victims in the boot of the Australian-designed Figo.

However, most of the outrage was aimed at an ad featuring former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi with three bound and gagged women tucked into the tiny city car’s boot.

Other ads show former formula one pilot Michael Schumacher and Hilton hotel chain heiress Paris Hilton abducting their professional adversaries with the accompanying tag-line: “Leave your worries behind.”

Ford India said the ads were never intended for 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,” the car-maker said.

While the Figo adverts might have caused outrage among many circles, they have certainly drawn a lot of attention to the Australian-designed Figo, bringing uncertainty as to whether the release was intentional or not.

While the Figo ads appear to have backfired, other car-makers have used viral marketing to good effect.

In 2006 an unofficial ad surfaced on Youtube showing a terrorist detonating a bomb inside a Volkswagen Polo, using the slogan: “Small but tough.” A more recent ad for Hyundai’s Veloster was banned for using a depiction of the Grim Reaper.

Earlier this year, Australia’s advertising watchdog pulled an ad for Fiat’s performance-honed 500 Abarth off television after finding the ad had sexist undertones.

However, what most people have overlooked is how three full-size adults can fit in the boot of a car that would struggle to swallow two large suitcases.

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