afaqs!

Ford marketing exec steps down after Figo ad controversy

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing | April 10, 2013
An executive from Ford India's senior marketing team has stepped down, though the company has not named the individual.

Following the Ford Figo ad controversy ignited by three offensive ads that were leaked online, a senior executive from Ford India's marketing team has stepped down from the company. Though Ford has confirmed the move, it has not named the individual.

Confirming this to afaqs!, the Ford India spokesperson says, "We are increasing our education efforts to help ensure nothing like this ever happens again. According to our policy, we will not identify the individual publicly. To our knowledge, this situation is unique and we are taking steps inside both Ford and WPP to prevent a recurrence."

Ford

However, if sources are to be believed, the curtains might have been pulled on Sriram Padmanabhan, vice-president, marketing, Ford India, who was appointed in the position effective February 1, 2013. Padmanabhan has been with Ford Motor Company since 1998 in various roles in India and Asia Pacific markets.

This comes close to the heels of Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer and managing partner at JWT India, stepping down from the company in the wake of the recent Ford controversy.

A series of offensive ads for Ford's hatchback Figo were leaked online on Ads of the World, a website where agencies have been known to upload unpublished work. Given the provocative nature of the creatives, within hours, criticism flowed in from every side and questions were raised.

Ford Motor Company was forced to apologise and Ford India's agency, JWT India, which created the ads and posted it online on the website, also issued an apology.

Both the client and the agency have been working to keep the matter under wraps and to ensure that the fiasco is not repeated. "After internal reviews, both Ford and WPP have taken appropriate actions. Together with WPP, we are reviewing our processes and increasing our education efforts to help ensure nothing like this ever happens again," the Ford spokesperson informs.

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