A note to PR/marketing folks planning to build campaigns around C-list celebrities: just because the public hates them doesn’t mean we won’t get offended on their behalf. Despite the fact that recent polling found the Kardashian family to be slightly less popular than the U.S. Congress (which boasts as dismal 9% approval rating), the Ford Motor Company still had to apologize this week for a couple of very weird overseas print ad spots, one of which depicted Kim and her sisters in a…compromising situation in the back of the brand-new compact Ford Figo driven by one Paris Hilton (ugh).
The strangest thing about this story is probably the fact that the spot, created by Ford’s Indian ad agency WPP, was never meant to be seen by the (Indian) public.
We don’t know who leaked these ads, which are awful in every conceivable way, but the present is a particularly bad time for a story like this to emerge. India is a nation struggling with a legal and political crisis that involves the highly publicized death of a rape victim, the subsequent arrest of several suspects and the passage of the country’s strictest-ever laws against sexual violence. Seems like someone on the inside wanted the world to notice the quality of work on offer here, no?
The point of these ads? The tagline is “Leave Your Worries Behind”, and each spot features a famous person dealing with his/her problems or competitors in a very unconventional way, because that’s what owning a compact car is all about. The other one stars a trio of unnamed women who we take to be prostitutes in a car driven by former Italian prime minister Silvio Burlusconi. Why? We have absolutely no idea. Maybe he’s popular in India?
We’re more offended by the comically bad art, though we will say that the sisters look a little more realistic here than they do on most of their magazine covers. (Yes, we’re feeling a little bitchy today. Can you tell?)