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Ford India apologizes for sexist car ads


What were they thinking?  

Three months after India made international headlines when hundreds of thousands of people took to streets to protest horrendous acts of violence against women, a series of advertisements featuring scantily clad, voluptuous women gagged, bound and stuffed in the spacious trunk of Ford’s Figo model cropped up.

Women’s groups condemned the ads, which they said trivialized sexual violence.

The ads were called misogynistic and insensitive. 

According to reports in Indian newspapers, Indian ad agency, JWT, produced the ads and uploaded them online last week. They have since been withdrawn.

Ford India has since apologized, so has JWT.

In a statement to The Hindu newspaper, Ford India said: “We deeply regret this incident and agree with our agency partners that it should have never happened. 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.”

One ad featured a caricature of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the driver’s seat flashing a peace sign while three voluptuous women sat gagged and bound in the spacious trunk.

A second featured the Kardashian sisters -- Khloe, Kourtney and Kim -- in the trunk and Paris Hilton winking from the driver’s seat.

Some reports suggest that the ads were not cleared by Ford India but posted online. Others say the ads were leaked online.

In December, a 23-year-old student was gang raped by six men; she later died of her injuries. It triggered protests across the country and just days ago, India passed a landmark law that set tougher penalties for rapists and for police officers who refuse to file a woman’s complaint of rape.

Just a week ago, a Swiss tourist was raped in central India. Her husband was tied to a tree nearby.

Raveena Aulakh is the Star's environment reporter. She is intrigued by climate change and its impact, now and long-term. Follow her on Twitter @raveenaaulakh


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I am sure that ford is a large enough company to know this type of ad would be offensive. The disturbing thing about this is that some ad agency in India didn't...says more about the indian culture (not all indians) than it does about Ford. A lot of change is required in that country.

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