Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer and managing partner at JWT India, axed as the Ford India sexually offensive ad controversy deepens
UPDATED STORY: The
PR crisis from Ford's India ad controversy, continues with an official
apology from the automaker, and the immediate dismissal of the
individuals behind the sexually offensive ad from JWT Delhi. The scandal
has seen axings from the very top with Bobby Pawar, Chief Creative
Officer & Managing Partner at JWT India (pictured at the recent Campaign Brief Asia party at AdFest in Thailand),
axed from the agency late yesterday after it was discovered the
campaign had been entered into India's biggest awards show, GoaFest.
entries to GoaFest have to be reviewed and approved by senior creative
management of the agency and by the client. The controversy may continue
as speculation within the Indian industry is that someone from Ford's
marketing department may have signed off on these GoaFest entries, as per the regulations for all entries to the Indian Festival.
JWT, India's largest agency network, had earlier in the evening issued an updated statement saying: "We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency at JWT. 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. These were necessary steps owing to the direct accountability of the concerned individuals as we work to ensure that both the right oversight and processes are strictly enforced so that this never happens again."
Also let go yesterday was the Vijay Simha Vellanki, the creative
director of Blue Hive, a JWT division that manages the Ford business.
Ford spokesperson Chris Preuss had also issued a statement: "The investigation over what happened is ongoing. Obviously, appropriate actions will be taken, including the dismissal of individuals who were found to be culpable.There's a deep partnership between WPP and Ford. Obviously, the issue was located in one place. It obviously happened with individuals who were acting outside of any normal oversight we have. This is a very, very serious matter and it's being handled as such. Right now, the actions are being dealt with at our local agency. Again, everybody is extremely unhappy and regretting this has happened."
Bobby Pawar joined JWT India in November 2011 from the DDB Mudra Group, replacing Agnello Dias, who had resigned to form independent agency, Taproot India.
His career in the industry spans the globe: at DDB Mudra Pawar was chief creative officer. He has worked for Ogilvy Mumbai, Tara Sinha Associates and Rediffusion in India, and Ogilvy & Mather New York and BBDO Chicago. He returned to India, and joined Mudra, in 2007 and has worked with many tier-one brands, including Volkswagen, Emirates, Philips, Lifesavers and AT&T.
The controversy which started several days ago when a series of offensive ads created by JWT Delhi showing female celebrities bound and gagged in the trunk of Ford Figo hatchback were uploaded tointernational ad websites.
The ads were not approved by Ford but rather created by staffers at JWT India, which handles advertising for Ford in the country. The posters depicted reality TV star Paris Hilton with what appears to be Kim Kardashian and her two sisters tied up in the trunk of her car. The tagline: "Leave your worries behind with Figo's extra large boot."
Another showed Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of
Italy, who was embroiled in a sex scandal of his own. In it, he's
flashing a victory sign while three half-dressed women struggle against