WPP India unit fires employees after sexist Ford ads

  • The Indian arm of advertising group WPP has fired employees over a series of ads, including one depicting women tied up in the trunk of a Ford driven by ex-Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi.

    The ads were published just days after India approved a tougher new law to punish sex crimes, in the wake of a fatal gang rape of a student in December.

    The ads, which were uploaded onto an industry website, were created by individuals within JWT India, a unit of WPP.

    "We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency at JWT," a company statement said on Tuesday.

    "These were never intended for paid publication, were never requested by our Ford client and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the Internet. These posters were created by individuals within the agency and did not go through the normal review and oversight process. After a thorough internal review, we have taken appropriate disciplinary action with those involved, which included the exit of employees at JWT," the statement continued.

    Ford India also issued a statement expressing regret over the incident. It did not comment on whether it would take action against the agency.