MUMBAI, March 26 (Reuters) - A series of car ads, including
one showing women bound and gagged in the trunk of a Ford driven
by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has prompted
Internet outrage in India and prompted an apology from Ford
The ads came just days after India approved a tougher new
law to punish sex crimes, following the fatal gang rape of a
student in December. That attack sparked unprecedented protests
over the treatment of women in the country.
The ads, uploaded on an industry website, were created by
individuals within JWT India, a unit of the world's biggest
advertising group WPP. They did not go through the normal review
and oversight process, Ford India said.
"We deeply regret this incident and agree with our agency
partners that it should have never happened," the company said
in a statement.
"These posters are against the standards of professionalism
and decency within Ford and our agency partners, and weren't
part of any projects that Ford and WPP are working on, or for
any commissioned commercial use."
Ford India did not comment on whether it was taking any
action against the agency.
One of the ads shows Berlusconi, charged in Italy with
paying for sex with a minor, sitting in the front seat of a Ford
Figo hatchback flashing a victory sign, with a trio of
half-dressed women tied up in the trunk.
Another ad in the same series featured a caricature of
celebrity Paris Hilton in the driver's seat, and three women
resembling the Kardashian sisters bound in the trunk with the
tagline "Leave your worries behind with Figo's extra large
"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," WPP said.
Comments on Twitter and Facebook dismissed the ads as
"shameful" and "disgusting".
"If this is what Ford represents, I will never buy Ford
again, and try my best not to sit in one," a Facebook user said.