WPP acts swiftly against JWT India

To its credit, WPP has acted rather more swiftly against JWT than its sister network Y&R once it emerged that one of its creative teams had been responsible for a grossly offensive scam ad for one of its clients.

But then the implication of its ad, which featured pictures of scantily-clad women bound and gagged in the back of a Ford Figo car, were rather more serious than the cruel disrespect that Y&R showed to Falkland Islanders and war veterans with its spot of last year.

The furore was quickly picked up by the national press – most of which focused on the execution that also showed a depiction of the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who is on trial for alleged sex crimes. Another showed a caricature of Paris Hilton with the Kardashian sisters tied up in the boot.

JWT India’s chief creative officer Bobby Pawar and the creative team responsible have quite rightly been fired and JWT must be hoping that a line has been drawn under the disgraceful incident. Its condemnation of the ad was unequivocal.

At the time of Y&R’s Falklands spot for the Argentine government, some commentators pointed out (fairly) that the creative team responsible were probably unaware of the offence that they had caused – they thought that the Islands belonged to them. Equally that other historical or cultural differences around the world would result in the creation of ads that would be deemed unacceptable here and that agency networks had no way of monitoring all the work coming out of their various outposts.

Sadly, recent history shows that in India there is an attitude to women, in some quarters at least, that resulted in an the Ford Figo ad being deemed acceptable – maybe even funny. The fact that WPP and JWT showed that they were unwilling to bend to such an unacceptable cultural ‘nuance’, and acted swiftly and decisively is to be applauded.

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