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Ford apologises for 'Berlusconi' Figo ads

The phrase “Leave your worries behind” means vastly different things to different people, as one Indian ad demonstrates.

The Ford Figo ad, created by JWT India, features former Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi flashing a peace sign from the front of the car, with the trunk open to show three women in tight and revealing outfits bound and gagged.


Car-icature: The Figo ad shows Silvio Berlusconi flashing a peace sign while three women are bound in the back of his car. The ad has created quite a stir in Italy and advertising circles

The tag line reads “Leave your worries behind with Figo’s extra-large boot.” The ad is a reference to the scandal-ridden Berlusconi’s history of sex scandals, including having semi-naked women dancing at his private parties (“bunga bunga” parties) and a trial for soliciting an underage girl for sex.

The Ford ad shows one woman in a schoolgirl outfit crying, a possible reference to the then-16-year-old dancer, Karima al-Mahroug. Berlusconi is also appealing fraud charges and was recently convicted of authorising an illegal wiretap, which he is also likely to appeal.

The ad was posted online on the ‘Ads of the World’ website without being reviewed first. Although it didn’t run on TV the ad did a big damage.WPP group, which owns JWT India, issued an apology: “We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group. These were never intended for paid publication and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the Internet.”

Other ads in the series showed Paris Hilton winking as she glances at her reality TV rivals, Khloe, Kourtney and Kim Kardashian, tied up and bound while they squeeze into the backof the car.

A third version of the tasteless creative shows Formula One driver Michael Schumacher behind the wheel of the car while his race car rivals, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso suffer in the back.

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