JWT sacks staff over Ford Berlusconi advert

Ford advert
Image caption The advert has not been used commercially and Ford said it was reviewing oversight processes

JWT India has sacked employees over a series of controversial advertisements, including one showing former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with a group of bound women in a car boot.

The adverts were never commercially used but appeared on a website.

JWT, a unit of the world's biggest advertising group WPP, said the posters were "distasteful and contrary to standards" followed at the firm.

The firm's managing partner, Bobby Pawar, has been asked to leave.

According to reports, the creative director of Blue Hive, a WPP unit dedicated to managing the Ford business, Vijay Simha Vellanki, has also been asked to resign.

"We deeply regret the publishing of posters," JWT said in a statement.

"After a thorough internal review, we have taken appropriate disciplinary action with those involved, which included the exit of employees at JWT."

Wrong move

One of the adverts showed Mr Berlusconi in the driver's seat with three bound women in the boot and a slogan: "Leave your worries behind with Figo's extra-large boot."

They were uploaded on a website just days after India passed strict anti-rape laws.

The posters had triggered comments against them on the various social media, with many people labelling them as sexist.

The controversy saw the Indian unit of Ford Motor Company issuing an apology earlier this week.

JWT also condemned the posters saying that "these 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," it said.

According to some reports, Ford is one of JWT's biggest global accounts.

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