Michigan’s own Ford Motor Company in partnership with an Indian ad agency became recipients of public scrutiny this past March and could face a major hit in India’s cars sales. Allegedly someone had leaked onto the Internet a Ford car ad demonstrating violence against women. Ford officials claimed the ad was “never intended for publication.” Regardless of the apology it didn’t seem to stop from stirring controversy after critics labeled the ad as “distasteful.” Feelings about the ad could of worsen since it was broadcasted online in midst of highly publicized gang-rape trial in Indian.
The car ad featured three overly sexualized women being gagged in the mouth, bond at their hands and feet and stashed in the back of a new 2013 Ford Figo. Taking a closer look at the women we can see the one on the far right is even shown with a single tear running down her cheek. She seemes almost frightened as she stares at viewers in a submissive and frighten look on her face. Additionally the artist’s choice of wardrobe for the women seems to be suggestive of pornography. In the manner they are placed in the car, one could imply they were being taken against their will or fallen victim to the sex trade. The only thing more offensive then the depiction itself was the caption found underneath.
“Leave Your Worries Behind.”
Ford issued a statement after the public backlash and 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.”
I wanted to write about this ad because it reminded me so much of the Jean Kilbourne’s films about the objectification and violence of women in the media. Although I found her evidence compelling when presented in her movie lectures, I never actually found on my own accord examples that were as extreme as had demonstrated. For a while, I thought that maybe she had exaggerated the problem and probably made it out to be much worse than it actually was. Fact is these types of ads do exist and are still being circulated. The recent instance in India proved me wrong.