In what is seen as a serious attempt to fix responsibility internally for the ad fiasco, Ford India has let go an employee.
The raging controversy over the Figo car advertisement has already seen two high-ranking executives of a leading advertising agency step down.
A JWT India-produced advertisement, which was leaked online last week, depicted former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in a Ford Figo, with handcuffed and gagged women in the trunk. Though never formally aired, the spot sparked controversy due to its offensive and sexual nature.
While the advertisements were not approved for public viewing, an unnamed Ford India employee who reportedly saw the advertisement and signed off on using it in an advertising contest was recently let go by the company.
“The Ford India employee is no longer with the company. We are also reviewing our processes and increasing our education efforts to help ensure nothing like this ever happens again. We take this very seriously, and, after internal reviews, have taken appropriate action,” said a Ford India spokesperson.
The advertisement was leaked on the ‘Ads of the World’ website, a third-party site that is used by ad agencies to solicit feedback.
JWT India Managing Partner Bobby Pawar stepped down on Wednesday, saying he had to take ‘moral responsibility’ for the leaked spot. Vijay Simha Vellanki, who was Creative Director of Blue Hive, a WPP unit dedicated to the Ford account, also resigned on Wednesday.