Employees responsible for a series of ads showing the Kardashian sisters bound and gagged in the trunk space of a Ford vehicle have been fired.
WPP — the world’s largest advertising group — said one of its Indian-based units, JTW, was responsible for the ads, The Telegraph reports. The ads were seen as particularly offensive because of recent high-profile rape cases in India and the government’s response to toughen sex crimes.
But even without those political overtones, the ads — which were aimed at promoting Ford’s Figo hatchback — sparked worldwide backlash.
One showed former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi flashing the peace sign in the front seat of the vehicle, while three women lay bound and gagged in the rear. Another pictured a Paris Hilton caricature in the driver’s seat, and three bound women that looked like Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian bound in the trunk. The ad tag line: “Leave your worries behind with Figo’s extra large boot.”
The company released a statement of apology: “We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency at JWT. These were never intended for paid publication, were never requested by our Ford client and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the Internet. These posters were created by individuals within the agency and did not go through the normal review and oversight process,” The Telegraph reported.
The ads were a public relations nightmare for Ford. One Facebook poster wrote, shortly after viewing the ads, “I will never buy Ford again and try my best not to sit in one.”