Ford - Berlusconi /Hilton & Schumacher with bound & gagged women in their trunk - scam ad, India

silvio berlusconi
Paris Hilton
michael-schumacher

If anyone here can help me decipher how on earth anyone might think this was a good idea, feel free. The first ad has Silvio Berlusconi and his personal collection of bound and gagged barely clad women in his trunk, which sort of makes sense as I assume that's how he lets his girlfriends travel with him (zing!). Next there's Paris Hilton ­with a trio of Kardashians in her trunk, and the third ad puts some gender equality in it as Michael Schumacher stows away Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, and Lewis Hamilton in his trunk. Everyone has junk in their trunk! Wait, what?

Ford has apologized for the ads, that were "never meant to see the light of day". You know, because the sun don't shine on Ads of the World where the ads were submitted to.

The news that these ads exist has reached every major newsoutlet on the planet, with even Fox News publishing Ford's apology, and the ads sail around with the apology ensuring even greater exposure for the images.

The company said Monday that it regrets the incident, calling the images "contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford." A spokesperson said the company is investigating whether anyone at Ford ever saw the ad.
The ads, created by JWT India, were not approved by Ford, according to Business Insider. The agency made the spot and posted it to website Ads of the World without approval. The full apology from both Ford and JWT can be seen here.

WPP Group, parent company of JWT, and Ford emailed an apology to Business Insider:
“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.”

Is there any way to stop spec ads from going around the web as real ads? We've repeatedly said that in a digitally connected world scam ads hurts brands, but when ads clearly not commissioned by the client like the KIA pedophile ads wins Cannes Lions, is it any wonder that agences (or a rogue team of creatives at an agency) try to get some other ad-people to look at their work? We have the spec category here just so that people can show off stuff, I have no beef with that. But when things that are so clearly not in the brands tone of voice, or using Hitler for shocks sake, or not even physically possible to do, I wonder why so many news outlets fall for it. Is it simply so, that we've gotten so used to shockvertising, we'll assume all of it is real now? These days , anything a brand says in social media is considered "an ad", even when it's a screendump from a comedy skit for Vodka, or a behind the scenes video of a photoshoot - which aren't really "ads" the way we used to know them.

That news will pick up on things that outrage people is not a new phenomena the top ten spec ads for the past ten years a few years back will show you that shocking = views even back in 2001. VW suicide pretty much lead the way there, even being threatened by a lawsuit from VW.

So, while it's nice that we all have digital portfolios, and people will send their work to all the adsites out there to get some feedback (and who can blame them really), the fault lies not in the poor concept and the eager to be famous team - but the sites that don't check if an ad is real or not (or don't even have a "spec" category).

But how could a simple ad depository site do that, when even Cannes can't?

In the end some of these things seem to be submitted to both awards and sites, in the hopes that the brands won't notice, and I suspect with top brass knowing full well what is going on down in the depths of the creative department.


Related
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D&AD will name and shame scammers - ECD has to vouch for each entry
The DDB / WWF 911 / Tsunami commercial kerfluffle recap post.

JWT , INDIA

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