"Leave Your Worries Behind."
So it says in the text of a leaked Ford Figo ad campaign mock-up that made its way onto the Internet last week. But it seems that there are many more worries ahead for the car company, including a potential Kourt Kase with the Kardashians.
The offending advertisement features the three Kardashian sisters in the form of caricatures - bound, gagged and ruffled in the back seat of a Figo - while fellow celebutante Paris Hilton winks from the passenger seat of the car. Two similar ads were leaked including one of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi posing with a peace sign in the front seat, as three scantily-clad, disgruntled women (later identified by La Repubblica as the women at the heart of the Berlusconi sex scandal) remain bound in the back of the car.
The selling point of the demeaning ads, though never meant to be released or distributed, is the vehicle's spacious trunk can supposedly fit up to three gagged and bound women - in perhaps the worst car ad idea ever to be turned into a mock-up. What makes matters worse is that the Ford Figo is manufactured in India - a country that just last week passed major anti-rape legislation in response to the fatal, horrifying New Delhi gang-rape of a student that took place on a bus in December. The timing of the ad's leak could not have been more awkward and embarrassing for the car company. It is however telling of the region's attitudes towards women, something this WSJ blog condemns as "casual sexism."
Ford has since apologized in a statement to CNBC:
"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."
WPP Group, the parent company of the ad agency responsible for producing the illustrations, also apologized and maintained that these mock-ups were not intended for the public eye:
"We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group. These posters 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."
Where we assume responsible parties were suspended or fired.
Despite these statements of contrition, the Kardashian family attorney told E! News on Monday that the offending ads are "disgusting, vile and offensive to all women" and that the sisters "do not take this lightly and they are exploring all their legal options."
To be kontinued...