JWT India maverick creative in ‘rape’ ad storm

Enthusiasm is a dangerous thing and someone at JWT India has put their (and the company’s) foot in it by sending some some apparently unauthorised ads for Ford, featuring bound and gagged people in the boot of a car, off to Ads of the World.

This has caused a predictable storm in India, where the government, the judiciary and the police are currently reeling after a widely-publicised spate of gang rapes. One of the ads features former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, of ‘bung bunga’ fame and himself charged with rape (he’ll get off, of course).

The so-far anonymous auteur hasn’t limited himself (or herself, indeed) to women though. There’s also a trio of Grand Prix drivers.

So presumably it isn’t a concept board for a pro-rape campaign.

Ford and JWT owner WPP have both apologised of course but it’s more than embarrassing all the same. Where’s an account director when you need one?

Update 27/3/2013

The aforementioned ‘maverick creative’ and some of his or her colleagues have, rather predictably, been turfed from JWT (or WPP) India.Was this really a hanging offence? The ads weren’t actually endorsing rape after all.

Never mind, they were skilfully rendered (if in dubious taste) so the perpetrators will probably get a job somewhere else.

One Comment

  1. Not the first time this has happened. Years back, but still within living memory, such ads were not uncommon in Japan.

    In an egregious Hakuhodo commercial for Sanraku’s Rolling K whiskey, cowboys on horseback circlde an attractive young woman in jeans. A few moments later, she’s lying spread out and disheveled in the sand, near a bottle of whiskey. Dubbed “the rape campaign,” it provoked immediate protests and was taken off the air. Yet the pained advertiser insisted they had only intended to celebrate the nobility of the male spirit!

    Equally troublesome was a Dentsu spot for Kashiyama clothing. It featured a beautiful woman kidnapped by suavely dressed men, dragged into a car, and driven away.

    The storm that these two ads precipitated led to public apologies and a long overdue reconsideration of how women could be treated in commercials

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