A series of unapproved ads has dragged both Ford India and its advertising agency, JWT India in to controversy that has now resulted in the resignation of Bobby Pawar, JWT‘s managing partner and chief creative officer.
A series of unapproved ads has dragged both Ford India and its advertising agency, JWT India in to controversy that has now resulted in the resignation of Bobby Pawar, JWT’s managing partner and chief creative officer. This also brings back into spotlight the issue of scam advertising, ads that are created not to sell products or services, but to win awards.
Three ads created by JWT India, have put Ford India on road to global embarrassment. Created for Ford's small car Figo, the ads highlighted the spacious boot space of the car with provocative caricatures reports CNBC-TV18’s Animesh Das.
One ad has gagged and bound women tossed into the boot with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi grinning from the front seat. In another, Paris Hilton doing the same to the Kardarshian sisters and in the third F1 driver Michael Schumacher junking his rivals in the trunk without care.
The tagline is "Leave your worries behind with Figo's extra large boot"
The ads, which were discovered on industry website Ads of the World on March 21, have given Ford and JWT a lot to worry about.
With this storm of negative publicity around them the client and the agency swung into damage control. Ford India’s statement said, "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''
Unfortunately, these offending ads were not part of a regular campaign and were 'scam' ads, created only for entry in advertising awards shows.
The question is did Ford know about these ads? The fact that they were entered for the ABBY Awards suggests that they did know about it.
However, in a shock move, taking responsibility for the fiasco, JWT's managing partner and chief creative officer, Bobby Pawar stepped down, along with a few other employees. JWT also pulled out 9 entries from the upcoming ABBY’s as a direct fall out of this.
Even as the ad world reels in shock, this issue of scam ads is hardly a new one.
Commenting on this issue one of the creative directors in India Abhijit Avasthi, NCD, Ogilvy India said, "This one, in my mind, is a wrongdoing. If you come up with something proactively, it is fine. But uploading it on to a website, for the world to see before the client sees it, that's where things went wrong. If the question is does issues like this, and incidents like this, make people more sensitive to proactive thinking? Then yes, it does."
The jury is out on whether or not this incident will help end scam advertising. But one thing's for sure, this incident will make it tougher for scam work to be released.