The cartoonish drawings were never part of a paid campaign but were part of "a creative exercise by a team that was submitting for an ad competition," according to Chris Preuss, Ford (Fortune 500) spokesman for WPP. "They were actually posters uploaded to a website, which is where it all took off from." ,
One of the images depicts Silvio Berlusconi, former prime minister of Italy and a candidate in the current campaign, driving a Ford Figo with three tied-up women in the back. Another image depicts Paris Hilton driving a Figo with what's meant to be the three Kardashian sisters tied up in the back. A third image shows three male race-car drivers tied up in the back.
"We deeply regret this incident and agree with our agency partners that it should have never happened," said Ford, in a prepared statement. "The posters are contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford and our agency partners."
WPP also released a statement saying that it "deeply regret[s]" the existence of the "distasteful" posters.
In a statement, the Kardashian sisters said they were exploring "all of their legal options," and called the ads "disgusting, vile and offensive to all women."
Ford unveiled the Figo, a subcompact, in 2009 to be produced in India and exported to other Asian countries and Africa.
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