India hasn’t been in the best of news off-late when it comes to women. With sexual harassment on the rise and people taking to the streets in protests, there couldn’t have been a worse time for Ford India’s sexist advertisement to hit the worldwide web.
Captioned with “Leave your worries behind with the Figo’s extra-large boot,” it shows the caricature of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi- infamous for his scandals in Italy giving a victory sign with scantily dressed women tied up and mouth-gagged in the boot of the Ford Figo.
Produced by advertising agency JWT, the advertisement has been quickly refuted by Ford India saying that they had not authorised the publication. In a statement to The Hindu, they 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.”
WPP Group- the parent company of JWT said: “We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group. This was the result of individuals acting without proper oversight and appropriate actions have been taken within the agency.”
Women’s rights activitist Dr. Ranjana Kumar said “They’re comparing women with baggage, it’s sexist and objectifies with semi-nude women with their hands tied. And it is at a time when Indian society is searching for respect and bodily integrity for women after the December 16th gang-rape. It makes it harder it harder to change men’s attitudes to women. You don’t do this when a whole nation is angry about rapes.”
Though we’d agree to the statements made by the protesters against the ad, but similar course needs to be devised for numerous other advertisements flashing on the idiot box.