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“Mad Men” isn’t a documentary, is it?

I really don’t get it. Somehow, a pair of ads for Ford were ‘leaked’, and Ford (or rather, the ad agency representing Ford) has hastily apologized.

We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group. These were never intended for paid publication and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the internet. This was the result of individuals acting without proper oversight and appropriate actions have been taken within the agency where they work to deal with the situation.

Here’s one of the ads.

silvio-berlusconi-ford-ad

So the car has a large trunk, and the selling point of the ad is that Silvio Berlusconi can haul around a trio of bound/gagged women in it? WHAT?. They were “never intended for paid publication”…but what were they intended for? I am totally baffled. Was Ford contemplating an ad campaign to market this specific car to bondage fanatics and serial killers?

None of this makes sense. It should have been killed when someone first sketched it out in pencil…yet there they are, two professionally done, well polished images. I’m trying to imagine under what conditions this misbegotten mess would be considered a viable example of a serious campaign to sell a mass-market vehicle, and totally failing.

So…has the agency been dismissed for flaming stupidity and gross incompetence yet?

Comments

  1. glodson says

    The thing that is disheartening is that I’m sure someone will come along to defend this, if the two threads about Richards is any indication.

  2. MetzO'Magic says

    And unlike the Adria Richards incident discussed here a few days ago, that both Adria and one of the men involved needlessly lost their jobs over… well, here’s a case where somebody at that ad agency definitely needs to lose their job.

  3. says

    Rey:

    FREEZE POSTERS!

    :falls over laughing: Thank you, I was in desperate need of a laugh.

    This is beyond disgusting. I used to work in an art room – that’s a finished ad, ready to go. Interesting. Very interesting.

  4. omnicrom says

    Sadly Glodson you’re correct, this is a solved game. It’s just a countdown for some asshole dudebro to pop in here and claim that he really really doesn’t understand why we should be unhappy about an ad campaign that is by every conscious measure based on objectifying women. That person will, of course, be lying, but that won’t stop them. It never stops them.

  5. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Some poor man is probably going to lose his job because people can’t take a joke. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

    /sarcasm

    Ugh.

  6. says

    MetzO’Magic:

    And unlike the Adria Richards incident discussed here a few days ago, that both Adria and one of the men involved needlessly lost their jobs over…

    There are *two* godsdamn threads on Adria Richards already. Over 2,000 comments. You want to talk about that, go there. Do not be spreading incorrect information in this one, FFS. The man who was fired was NOT fired for that one incident. Christ.

  7. says

    Either it’s the British version or no one is driving.

    It’s obviously for the European market, hence the use of “boot”. What in the fuckety fuck does that have to do with anything?

  8. says

    Trying as hard as I can to give them as much benefit of the doubt as I can (I know, I know they don’t deserve it) I think they were trying to go for a “sexy”, smutty almost Carry -On type humour which they got badly wrong. All of which doesn’t excuse the fact that this “humour” was par for the course half a century ago. Thought ad agencies were meant to be on the cutting edge of the zeitgiest?

  9. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Sometimes I hate the whole world so much after swallowing the red pill. I don’t know folks take it sometimes, I really don’t.

    I hit my limit the other day reading a story about a gay teen who was tortured and burned to death at his own birthday party and completely lost my shit, unable to stop crying and gasping for 45 minutes. The whole past two years of unremitting cruelty caught up with me and I was just. . out.

  10. says

    Andrew:

    Trying as hard as I can to give them as much benefit of the doubt as I can (I know, I know they don’t deserve it) I think they were trying to go for a “sexy”, smutty almost Carry -On type humour which they got badly wrong.

    How do the expressions on the women’s faces read to you? Sexy? Smutty? Funny Carry-On?

  11. kc9oq says

    Yes, this actually is old news. The ad was an unsolicited entry in a competition and wasn’t intended to go public. It is for a Ford Figo, available in India (where they drive on the left, hence the right-hand drive), and was one of 3. Another featured Paris Hilton at the wheel and the Kardashians tied up in back.

  12. carlie says

    Josh – that one hit me hard too, as the kid also had ASD.

    Not surprised about the ad – remember the “beat-up woman chic” from a few years ago where models all had makeup that made it look like they were bruised everywhere?

  13. carlie says

    (that sounded bad – not that the story wasn’t bad enough as it was, just that that detail was what hit really close to home)

  14. says

    Caine @14

    I think the key face to look at is the “driver”. The somewhat bored pissed off “here we go again” faces of the women are purely incidental. The grinning cheeky chappie in the driver’s seat is the important one, the women are mere props. Good old Silvio he’s in charge of things bringing home the babes (willing or no) and he’s grinning like the Cheshire cat.

    We focus on the women being mistreated because we are human beings with some empathy. These guys didn’t.

  15. ChasCPeterson says

    “Mad Men” isn’t a documentary, is it?

    Is that a trick question?

    It’s a trick question, right?

  16. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    bittys,

    Oh, wow! That link should come with a NSFW warning…. Nah, just kidding. Notice how men are all fully dressed kidnappees and woman have their breasts wandering all over the place.

  17. khms says

    I can see a scenario where some people would think stuff like that up – have a competition for “alternate ads”. While they probably thought they were all creative and edgy, I still think that’s a particularly bad idea – if you want one with Berlusconi, there are still much better ideas you might do (ones closer to what actually happened – I don’t know, say, showing underage prostitutes (not bound), “bunga-bunga”, Qaddafi, something about owning all the press, especially something that shows you’ve actually thought about things).

    And then (of course all of this is pure speculation, so might be wildly different from what actually happened) one stupid guy thinks these are hilarious (they aren’t), and puts them on the ‘net.

    No, I’m not speculating about the relations (or not) to other current news about India. Especially as, while it currently seems as if they have a rather high concentration, people like that really are everywhere.

    Hm – hey! I just thought of one slight variation that seems (at least to me) to be a significant improvement on this pseudo-ad. Replace the women with whatever Italian state attorneys and judges look like, put a rather young scantily dressed woman in the left seat, and make the slogan something like “leave all your troubles behind”. (If you want to not-run this in the US, instead use Clinton/Lewinsky.) [What does it say that Firefox spelling correction knows those two names?]

    Alternate ads can be fun, but certainly not like this.

  18. MetzO'Magic says

    Caine, please lighten up. I hadn’t been here for a few days. I was just over on the Ars Technica thread where I learned about 50 posts in that the guy who was fired did indeed have a prior rap sheet for this kind of thing. I was nicking back over here to apologise… ah, well.Too late. Things move fast around here.

  19. dianne says

    Caine, please lighten up. … I was nicking back over here to apologise

    These two statements don’t go together. You can’t both demand that the person you offended “lighten up” and apologize effectively.

  20. echidna says

    Caine, please lighten up.

    I was nicking back over here to apologise

    And so you try to silence Caine? Are you serious?

  21. David Marjanović says

    Does seeing the other ad in the series make any difference to your views of the overall campaign?

    …Yes, in that… I don’t understand that one at all. Like, 0 % of it.

    ~:-|

  22. MetzO'Magic says

    OK, my fault. I read the latest thread first, this one, before I was aware of all the developments. And I would never try to silence Caine. I don’t post here often, but I do lurk a lot. I respect the regulars.

  23. bittys says

    @27 David Marjanovic

    Yes, in that… I don’t understand that one at all. Like, 0 % of it.

    It’s Michael Schumacher in the front, with some of his rival F1 drivers in the boot (I ‘m not particularly a fan of the sport, so I can’t say for certain who they are)

    @21 Beatrice

    Notice how men are all fully dressed kidnappees and woman have their breasts wandering all over the place

    Yeah, good point. I kinda hadn’t particularly noticed that, I guess because i’m used to that being how women tend to look in advertising (which is a problem in and of itself, but isn’t specific to this campaign)

  24. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    21
    Beatrice (looking for a happy thought)

    bittys,

    Oh, wow! That link should come with a NSFW warning…. Nah, just kidding. Notice how men are all fully dressed kidnappees and woman have their breasts wandering all over the place.

    Plus the men in that other ad just have tape on their mouths, these women have the S&M gag ball to give the pouty “this is what I look like with a dick in my mouth” look.

    If anything, that other ad submission just makes this one look all the worse. Quite a strong contrast illustrating the sexism, for those who are too dumb to notice.

  25. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    I’m ready to board the first flight leaving this planet.

  26. carlie says

    and woman have their breasts wandering all over the place./blockquote>

    It’s kind of tough when you don’t train them early – all kinds of bad habits get ingrained. Why, my breasts tried to up and go get themselves a snack just the other day, and I had to yell three times using their full names to get them back where they belonged.

  27. WharGarbl says

    They were “never intended for paid publication”…but what were they intended for? I am totally baffled. Was Ford contemplating an ad campaign to market this specific car to bondage fanatics and serial killers?

    Well, the full quote… from the link and the section you quoted “These were never intended for paid publication and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the internet.”
    If one would give Ford the benefit of the doubt, the following likely happened:
    1. Ford commissioned for an ad from the ad agency.
    2. As with all design process, several different ad designs are made.
    3. One, or several, employees in the ad agency decided to make this… thing.
    4. Ford either never saw that version, or did and may have rejected it.
    5. Ad got posted by someone who got a copy (whether from inside the ad agency or individual employee inside of Ford) without company knowledge.

  28. says

    Actually, with the race car drivers, it makes sense. “Oh, he’s taking the other drivers so they can’t have a chance to beat him in the race.”

    With the other ad, I look at it and think “Why does he have three women in his trunk?” It just suggests awful things, especially since one seems to be a police officer, there’s probably something illegal going on here.

  29. WharGarbl says

    None of this makes sense. It should have been killed when someone first sketched it out in pencil…yet there they are, two professionally done, well polished images. I’m trying to imagine under what conditions this misbegotten mess would be considered a viable example of a serious campaign to sell a mass-market vehicle, and totally failing.

    There are a LOT of artist worth their salt can create said “professionally done” and “well-polished” image in a day or two.
    Watch this speedpaint (just a random one I grab)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQlFLjNcp7U
    Fairly professional image in 8 hours of work.
    Plus, looking at the ad and its… alternatives below it (the one with yellow car). It is likely that they already designed the template of the car and interior. With just that template, you have probable beginning of a normal ad campaign (put in surfboard, soccer gears, etc + people involved). It just take someone with that template to paint those women and add some shadow to make… well, this thing.

  30. WharGarbl says

    Sorry forgot to explain one more point.

    I’m trying to imagine under what conditions this misbegotten mess would be considered a viable example of a serious campaign to sell a mass-market vehicle, and totally failing.

    Remove the women and the creepy dude, leaving just a car with its open trunk door, you can probably think about at least a dozen different design that will fall under a decent ad campaign (at least not misogynistic).
    The ad agency & Ford probably iterated to that point when someone in the ad agency added the women + creepy dude. As I point up in #35, it doesn’t take a lot of time to draw them.

  31. says

    WharGarbl has the right of it.

    The image was created by someone who thought Ford would like the ad, Ford said, “No actually we don’t like that” image made it to the internet anyway.

    Ford says, “yeah we never intended to use that ad” and people are still somehow mad at Ford?

    Be mad at the person who made the tasteless ad, but not at the company that said no to it.

  32. cm's changeable moniker says

    Nasty. And they don’t even make sense: “Leave your worries behind” … by taking your competition with you in the boot (trunk)? (Or, for Berlusconi, potential accusers.) Does not compute.

  33. WharGarbl says

    @timdiaz
    #38
    Or Ford never did see the ad. It is possible the individual(s) created it for, as I said, shits-n-giggles and never gave it to Ford for consideration.

  34. says

    I think WharGarbl nailed it. I’m an illustrator and this does not look like a finished ad at all, at least not from an agency which has Ford Motor Co. as a client. I don’t think it was ever intended for the client to see, just an internal (very bad) joke – they do it all the time, one can find lots of other examples over the web.

  35. says

    This doesn’t actually appear to be Ford’s fault; they didn’t request it or use it. At the ad agency, heads should roll, but unfortunately probably will not.
    bittys#20
    No, it doesn’t, and shouldn’t.

  36. azpaul3 says

    This is a sick product of a sick mind. This is the kind of misogynistic stupidity this and other blogs are trying to overcome in our society.

    Please know, PZ, that when you get up your dander and wax righteous curses upon the evil religionists, MRA idio-pukes and the repugnican perverts I am right there with you, O Great Tentacle One.

    But, what the everlovin’ fuck are you talking about PZ? You present this as if Ford asked the Ad agency to explore this. Where the fuck did that come from? Are you reading the same articles as I? The evidence in the statements points to some flaming asshole fool who made these up on his own volition thinking these were funny. Nowhere, anywhere, does anything say Ford or the Ad agency were even aware, let alone in any way complicit, with this fuckbrained action.

    “Was Ford contemplating an ad campaign to market this specific car to bondage fanatics and serial killers?”

    “They were ‘never intended for paid publication’…but what were they intended for? I am totally baffled.

    Are you insane? Where the fuck did this crap come from?

    Do you really think Ford asked for this? By what stretch of evidence do you blame Ford of any of this? Ford and its Ad agency are as much victims here as are the women depicted. The present feminist campaign is to STOP BLAMING THE VICTIM when this crap gets puked from some asshole’s mouth and here you turn right around and insinuate crap against these victims? Ford is a victim here. Ford is the victim of this misogynistic mind set by some “privileged” male who thinks he is humorous. You blame Ford? You blame the Ad agency? Want to go all the way and blame the women depicted, too?

    Is it because Ford is some unlovable corporate entity you can bash and blame and smear with impunity? Is a victim a victim or not?

    “I’m trying to imagine under what conditions this misbegotten mess would be considered a viable example of a serious campaign to sell a mass-market vehicle, and totally failing.”

    Of course you are failing. Who the fuck ever said, anywhere, this was anything other than a stupid shit-headed prank at the expense of Ford, the Ad agency and women everywhere? Where the fuck did you get any hint that this was “a viable example of a serious campaign to sell a mass-market vehicle”?

    You are about as far from stupid as one can get in this species, PZ, but this is stupid. It is blatant insulting innuendo to all the victims involved. You should retract this piece of trash, put the thing into proper perspective and blame the sicko perpetrators – not the victims.

  37. WharGarbl says

    @azpaul3
    #43
    That’s a bit too harsh.
    PZ likely didn’t understand how little effort it would’ve taken to take a normal ad design and twist it to something like this.
    Those with sufficient understanding would see that and recognize that: Yes, it is very possible that some individual or a very small group of individuals created this for their… amusements in a short period of time.
    Heck, sometimes even I forget how talented some artist can be in churning out impressive looking art in a short time frame.

  38. Maureen Brian says

    You could be wrong, azpaul3.

    Ford and its advertising agencies have “form” on this sort of thing. Long ago and having been criticised for its sloppy hiring policies and lack of diversity in the workplace, the company set out to mend its image.

    It lined up a gang of smiling workers for a photo session at one of its British plants, workers who were all shapes, sizes and colours. This was the new Ford which was now totally on top of equal opportunities!

    Except that …. the photos went off to the advertising agency which promptly turned all the men into Anglo-Saxon style blondes – because it looked neater that way. That time the ads went out to appear in the papers and all hell broke loose, as you might imagine. It seems that HR had not thought to mention to marketing that there had been a change of plan.

    Bloody idiots!

  39. WharGarbl says

    More details.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/awful-ford-figo-ad-silvio-berlunsconi-gagged-women-2013-3
    http://www.businessinsider.com/ford-wpp-apologizes-for-offensive-car-ad-2013-3#ixzz2OZF1IJyf
    Specifically, in the first article.

    JWT India created a series of disturbing ads for the FordFigo, one of which shows former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi flashing a peace sign from the front seat of a car that has three curvaceous women tied up and gagged in the trunk. Ford and JWT have both issued an apology.
    Ford did not approve the ads; the agency was just publishing some speculative renderings to show off its creative chops. JWT India is Ford’s agency for the Figo in that country.

    Ford never approved the ads.

    Also see this.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/15-incredibly-offensive-unapproved-ads-2013-3
    Without know more detail, the worst we can accuse Ford of is the following.
    1. They didn’t terminate their relation immediately after being shown that ad (assuming they continued the relation with JWT).
    2. The didn’t have the foresight to see that by hiring an Indian ad agency, they’re going to get stuffs like this created.

  40. yazikus says

    azpaul3, I wish that there was this level of outrage for the people who made this. Rather, we are now having to contruct some scenario where some super talented artist is sneakily and in no way on company time

    churning out impressive looking art in a short time frame.

    while Ford has absolutely no idea, and definitely never gave any guidelines when requesting an add (maybe like “No Kidnapping Themes”)… So yeah. I think it is a bit off to go off on PZ about this.

  41. yazikus says

    @whargarbl, What does

    2. The didn’t have the foresight to see that by hiring an Indian ad agency, they’re going to get stuffs like this created.

    mean exactly??

  42. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #47 WharGarbl

    2. The didn’t have the foresight to see that by hiring an Indian ad agency, they’re going to get stuffs like this created.

    You’re fucking kidding yourself if you think this has anything to do with the ad agency being Indian. Seriously, have you seen PS3 ads? So much fail. This ad could have easily come out of any country nowadays. I was actually think it was from an American one.

  43. Colin J says

    They were “never intended for paid publication”…but what were they intended for? I am totally baffled.

    Seriously? Clearly these ads were prepared for the sole purpose of causing controversy and getting heaps of free publicity. They were always meant to be leaked and then run in newspapers and all over the internet for free.

    It reminds me of a car ad from a few years ago (I can’t remember who for) that depicted a suicide bomber setting off a car bomb on a busy street. The “joke” was that the brand he chose was so tough the blast didn’t get outside the car’s body. It was never broadcast as a paid ad but it was all over Youtube.

    So…has the agency been dismissed for flaming stupidity and gross incompetence yet?

    For doing exactly what they were hired to do? I doubt it. I bet you the “appropriate actions” taken against the individuals mainly consist of paying them a very large bonus.

    azpaul3 #43 (+WharGarbl, timdiaz and the rest)
    That’s crap. There’s no way this was anything other than a planned campaign. Ford got exactly what they paid for.

  44. WharGarbl says

    @yazikus
    #49
    @JAL
    #50
    From the article I posted in #47 (first one). A specific quote:
    “India is known for its politically incorrect advertising — Hitler shows up in ads there on a regular basis. It is possible that JWT India was trying to make a joke about Western culture rather than the role of women in society — although either way it’s tasteless.”
    India is known for this. So if you don’t want advertisement that’s politically incorrect (or potentially tasteless), don’t hire ad agency based in a country that’s known to make ads like that.

  45. WharGarbl says

    @Colin J
    #51

    That’s crap. There’s no way this was anything other than a planned campaign. Ford got exactly what they paid for.

    I can see that as a possibility.
    But then again, it is just as likely that this is an un-authorized ad.

  46. noastronomer says

    “So…has the agency been dismissed for flaming stupidity and gross incompetence yet?”

    Doubt it, and they probably won’t be. After all the poster did everything it was supposed to (create publicity) and then some. In fact the ad-execs probably earned a nice fat bonus for this.

    And if anyone thinks the distribution of these pictures, or the ‘backlash’, was accidental then I need to speak to you urgently about a large sum of money my uncle needs to get out of the country.

    Mike.

  47. yazikus says

    @WharGarbl: I’ve lived in India, know many people from India, and while I’m not Indian myself, I would not say that India is “known” for politically incorrect (which is not how I would describe this add by the way) advertising anymore than any other country. And I think Ford has enough resources that if India really is “known” for that sort of thing, they wouldn’t have gone there in the first place.

  48. WharGarbl says

    @Darcy
    #57
    From the article I posted, it was a speculative rendering. In short, the ad agency is just showing some draft works to Ford. In this case one of them got out.

  49. Gregory Greenwood says

    Yup – another one of those ‘what the hell is wrong with the world’ moments. How anyone could have allowed this abomination to be created is beyond me. You would think that someone would have had to approve initial sketches before an advanced work up, and at that point the whole idea of ‘buy the new Ford – great for abducting scantily clad women and leaving them tied up in sexualised poses in the boot’ would have been axed then and there.

    Ah, silly me – there I go again expecting that halfway decent people who aren’t soaked in toxic misogyny would actually get a say in this kind of thing. This is just another expression of rape culture dreamed up by some humour deficient, prejudiced arsehat who thinks gross sexism is hilarious and works in an industry where no one is prepared to/cares enough to take a stand against their bigotry.

    Hey – does anyone know when the next one way flight off this sorry rock is scheduled to leave?

  50. WharGarbl says

    @noastronomer
    #54

    And if anyone thinks the distribution of these pictures, or the ‘backlash’, was accidental then I need to speak to you urgently about a large sum of money my uncle needs to get out of the country.

    That is a possibility.
    But I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what they do next.

    @yazikus
    #58
    And I would like to repeat my apology. In retrospect, that was a pretty racist comment.

  51. Kitterbethe says

    From the article I posted, it was a speculative rendering. In short, the ad agency is just showing some draft works to Ford. In this case one of them got out.

    Maybe I’m being a bit harsh toward Ford, but I don’t think the fact that an agency even thought they might like something like that speaks well about them.

    Shouldn’t “nothing really fucking sexist” be in a brief or something…

    I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t work that way.

  52. says

    @ WharGarbl

    # 59

    Yes, that’s very possible. What I forgot to bear in mind are the different market cultures. What would not work here (Brazil) might well work somewhere else.

  53. WharGarbl says

    @Gregory
    #60

    You would think that someone would have had to approve initial sketches before an advanced work up

    From the article I posted in #47: “Ford did not approve the ads; the agency was just publishing some speculative renderings to show off its creative chops.”
    They’re essentially “rough drafts”.

    would have been axed then and there.

    See above. Ford did axed it.

  54. WharGarbl says

    @Kitterbethe
    #62

    Shouldn’t “nothing really fucking sexist” be in a brief or something…

    They probably didn’t thought of that, and probably believe that since they have to approve the ads before they officially go out, they can axe anything objectionable before then.
    Unfortunately for them, there are other unofficial ways of stuff getting out.

  55. Colin J says

    WharGarbl #53:

    But then again, it is just as likely that this is an un-authorized ad.

    Can you imagine how much you would have to pay to get a fraction of the exposure this ad is getting internationally?

    I’m sure it was officially unauthorised, just as Ford has officially apologised. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t executed exactly as planned.
    .

    Darcy Vieira #57:
    The article I read said that it was for a model that is only on sale in India. So I guess for the rest of the world, the thing being marketed here is the Ford brand. Which stands out pretty well.

    .
    noastronomer #54:

    And if anyone thinks the distribution of these pictures, or the ‘backlash’, was accidental then I need to speak to you urgently about a large sum of money my uncle needs to get out of the country.

    Get in line. I’ve got a bridge to sell to WharGarbl first.

  56. Kitterbethe says

    They probably didn’t thought of that, and probably believe that since they have to approve the ads before they officially go out, they can axe anything objectionable before then.
    Unfortunately for them, there are other unofficial ways of stuff getting out.

    I hear you, but that seems naive on Ford’s part.
    Media are awash with sexist crap being used to sell things, I think if I was genuinely against it I would put it in every brief.

    especially if I was asking for “edgy” or something.

    And its not like this sort of leaking hasn’t happened before…

    It smells more like a social media stunt to me.

  57. Ben P says

    Ford never approved the ads.

    Also see this.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/15-incredibly-offensive-unapproved-ads-2013-3
    Without know more detail, the worst we can accuse Ford of is the following.
    1. They didn’t terminate their relation immediately after being shown that ad (assuming they continued the relation with JWT).
    2. The didn’t have the foresight to see that by hiring an Indian ad agency, they’re going to get stuffs like this created.

    How dare you let facts and sources get in the way of a good bout of feminist outrage.

  58. Colin J says

    We have to remember that Ford is the victim here. The victim of a free publicity campaign beyond the dreams of avarice.

  59. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Oh, look what I found online just now: More fail advertising. Guess how many include sexism?
    —-
    —-
    #68 Ben P

    How dare you let facts and sources get in the way of a good bout of feminist outrage.

    Still plenty of room for outrage here, dumbfuck.

  60. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    So Ford commissioned the ad company to manufacture a controversy and take a hit of bad publicity for producing crap like that? And what does the ad company get in the long term? Can you walk me through this conspiracy theory, please?

  61. tacotaco says

    Was Ford contemplating an ad campaign to market this specific car to bondage fanatics

    So WTF if they were? Bondage fanatics buy cars too you know.

  62. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    That was (#72) of course to Colin J and anyone else who contends that the ‘bad publicity is still publicity’ angle is at work here.

  63. says

    The “fake leak” scheme is nothing new in advertising, and no one is doubting the brand got a lot of exposure for free – but it has to be positive. So it gets positive when Ford officially disapproves of the terrible made-to-look-like-layouts ads. Sure, this is plausible, but it’s still a very dangerous game. I am not sure Ford has the company profile for this kind of stunt.

  64. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    Yes, but what does the advert company get out of the deal? Maybe it’s naivety but it seems like bad publicity for the ad company is bad publicity and will hurt the long-term bottom line as other companies will a) not be willing to do business with them or b) in the case of someone trying to pull a media stunt they will avoid the company to defuse the charges of it being a publicity stunt. The ad company seems like a clear loser here and is where the whole ‘bad publicity’ theory falls apart.

  65. robro says

    You do have to wonder about Ford’s apology. If it was just skunk works, then why are they reviewing their “approval and oversight processes.” If they had no knowledge or involvement with this project, seems they might have just taken the “we knew nothing about it” approach.

    On the other hand, there is a question of which “Ford” are we talking about. There is an Indian company called Ford India Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Co, or “Detroit” as my Mom called it (she worked for them). It seems possible that Ford India might have been working with JWT on ads. Detroit might have known nothing about them until it hit the interwebs. Did the Ford apology come out of Detroit or India?

  66. garlic says

    Hm. Women buy a lot of cars, and have a large influence on family car purchases. I’m pretty sure the Ford guys are aware of that.

    So, barring further evidence I’ll go with the “rogue agency” explanation rather than the “black-hat viral advertising campaign from Ford” explanation.

  67. WharGarbl says

    @Ben P
    #68

    How dare you let facts and sources get in the way of a good bout of feminist outrage.

    There’s plenty to be outraged about. Fact and sources just focus more of those outrage.
    Kind of like aerial bombing, you want to minimize collateral damages and conserve the ammunition.

  68. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Ben @ 68

    How dare you let facts and sources get in the way of a good bout of feminist outrage.

    Oh, fuck you!

    Tacotaco @ 73

    So WTF if they were? Bondage fanatics buy cars too you know.

    Newsflash, as one of the aforementioned bondage enthusiasts, some of us are feminists. Some of us are even *gasp* women that find sexualized images of violence against women offensive.

  69. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    @ 81 Martin,

    have all the gendered insults been wiped off Pharyngula now? I found them so nauseating, it’s why I went on such a long break.

    Depends on what you mean by “wiped off”. But generally, gendered insults are not allowed and are cause for banning. See the commenting rules:

    No splash damage. I have no problem with insults (except, not in the Lounge!), and encourage everyone to use vigorous and creative language. Except…I insist that you be precise and focused. Stilettos, not shotguns. There are classes of insults that rely on broad spectrum stereotypes to be insulting: racist, sexist, ableist, ageist slurs don’t just hit your target, they hit everyone in that group. So when you slam Joe Schmoe for being “old”, you’re also slamming me, and we old people get tetchy and cranky about that sort of thing.

  70. omnicrom says

    Oh hey, 68 messages before someone defended the ad. Is that a new record of Sexism posting to Dudebro comment?

  71. helenaconstantine says

    If I recall correctly, isn’t Greta Christiana keen on bondage? She should be over here discussing this.

  72. Ben P says

    Oh hey, 68 messages before someone defended the ad. Is that a new record of Sexism posting to Dudebro comment?

    1. I said nothing directly about the ad
    2. I got a “dumbfuck” and two “fuck yous” in response. I stand by my comment about outrage.
    3. If you were really being honest at all, you’d consider that posts citing sources that Ford really had nothing to do with the ad would be defending the ad. But hey, who’s keeping score?

    By all means, continue to rage about Ford’s sexism and how dare they not do exactly what their apology says they did, it’s entertaining.

  73. says

    Martin Wiesner:

    #85 Who the hell are you talking to?

    Rey was talking to you, (which I suspect you well knew) wanting to know what in the fuck that bit of idiocy about “fruitist” was all about, and what its relevance to the topic might be. (Here’s a hint: it isn’t.)

  74. says

    Martin Weisner#84
    What are you on about?

    Ben P
    We can all hear the dogwhistles, it’s fucking tedious to wait until you come right out and say what you mean, so we often don’t bother waiting and move forward. You clearly haven’t read the thread, you clearly have no idea what you or we are talking about, and you’ve started right in with the usual buzzwords and cliches, just like all the others. We’re not impressed.

  75. Rey Fox says

    Apparently you figured me out well enough. So anyway, Martin Wiesner of comment #84, what the hell are you talking about?

  76. says

    Several things come to mind…

    1. This could be the new ‘viral’… depressing thought

    2. A corporation can’t be a victim, fuck anyone that says otherwise.

    3. There’s no way Ford suffers from this even if corporations could suffer.

    4. Doesn’t matter if Ford is behind this or not, we already know corporations do evil fucking things.

    5. If this was a political cartoon in the NYT many of us might think it was a scathing indictment of Burlosconi and his raging misogyny.

  77. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    @87, Helena,

    Why should she? What important perspective can her (or mine, or anyone else’s) experience with BDSM add to this odiousness of this ad?

  78. Ben P says

    We can all hear the dogwhistles, it’s fucking tedious to wait until you come right out and say what you mean, so we often don’t bother waiting and move forward. You clearly haven’t read the thread, you clearly have no idea what you or we are talking about, and you’ve started right in with the usual buzzwords and cliches, just like all the others. We’re not impressed.

    Dogwhistles eh? Tell me more about these dogwhistles.

    Perhaps you’ve located a list of dogwhistles in the state department.

  79. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Ben, why don’t you just state your fucking point, you dishonest douchenozzle?

  80. mathema says

    This is beyond the realm of misogyny versus serious, educated feminism (this online world we know)…. this is simply within the realm of stupid and violent versus decent and sane. Or to articulate it in somewhat semi-intelligent terms, you don’t even have to know anything about movement feminism or the like to realize how utterly asinine and ugly it is to make a poster like this. At least, I’d like to hope that’s the case.

    And on the business end of things, how is this helpful or marketable? Something scarier than the finished picture itself would be if a company like Ford thought it was (if they even knew, which I have no idea, and I’d like to hope they didn’t). That is, thought it was marketable or helpful for their business, is the scariest thing.

  81. omnicrom says

    Well Cyrano I’m sure Ben P is wise enough to realize that if they were to come out and say what they actually feel which is the old standby “Bitchez be crazy amirite” they lose their imagined high ground. Now of course Ben P, by dismissing this as Feminists being hysterical, has ceded the imagined high ground. And possibly Ben P has yet to realize that Pharyngula has seen this shit a billion times and much as Ben P would like to deny it the cherished dog whistle of “Bitchez be crazy amirite” still tones loud and clear.

    Now Ben P, if you’d like to contort yourself in some way to try and undo the depressingly obvious argument you were making of “Stop being uppity bitchez” feel free. Or you could leave, your first comment made it clear you and the denizens of Pharyngula won’t be getting along.

  82. Rey Fox says

    Oh, wait a minute. It would appear that Martin also goes by the name of “pogsurf” and has been banned here. Fascinating.

  83. says

    Rey:

    Is there a fuckwit convention going on today that I’m not aware of?

    I think there must be. Not only is the level of idiocy at a high, they all seem to have the same damn script to parrot over and over.

  84. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    they all seem to have the same damn script to parrot over and over.

    Its like a revolving door of stupidity.

  85. mathema says

    After reading the comments, I’d say I agree with 41 and the like. I could care less about what Ford does tbh. It’s just when I first saw it, I was like “wtf is that? A spoof?”. It’s pretty bad.

  86. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    The thing that is coming most strongly to my mind is that regardless of whether or not Ford is okay with it, or viral blah de blah, the more unsettling point is that people, apparently numerous ones, thought this was a great/sexy/hilarious idea for an ad. And that is fucking chilling.

    Tacotaco @ #73: That’s nice. Some of us bondage fanatics make a pretty clear distinction between rape culture and sexualized violence vs. kinky fun times.

    Helena @ #87: What Cyranothe2nd said. We’re not that rare, we’re already here, and consensual funtimes have nothing to do with this ad.

    Ben: You’re neither as clever or original as you think you are. Sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up until you get some new material.

  87. Lofty says

    Martin Wiesner

    The thing is I’m never quite sure why I keep getting. Does Phrungula have an appeals panels I could go to. Due process and all that.

    Getting what? And what’s a Phrungula?
    You can appeal to PZ the Evil Overlord of this place, it’s his personal blogspace, after all. I doubt it’ll do you much good.

  88. says

    Just coming back to third what Happiestsadist and Cyranothe2nd said, since I apparently failed to do so in my last comment. That goes for PZ too, honestly; there was no call to add that bit in the OP either.

  89. Lofty says

    Martin Wiesner is blatantly trolling.

    No kidding. Just he was sooo polite, I felt the overwhelming urge to be nice back. El Poopyhead can deal with it (the whine) if he chooses to.

  90. carlie says

    Hm, Ben P seems to share some commenting similarities with both Benn D and Jim the scriptbot. Wonder if this is another iteration of the same?

  91. Rusty Shackleford says

    I couldn’t figure out who that was. I thought two of the chicks were Palin and Bachman.

  92. kate_waters says

    @Rusty:

    There are no chickens in that ad. None. Those are drawings of women.

    If you think “chicks” is an appropriate way to refer to women then maybe you ought to go hang out at 4chan or reddit. They’ve got plenty of doodbros who can’t tell the difference between animals and people and you’ll fit right in.

  93. kate_waters says

    @Carlie #115:

    I have a feeling that they may not all be the same person. I don’t think that much stupid could be contained in just one body.

    Then again, I’m an optimist.

  94. Ben P says

    Now Ben P, if you’d like to contort yourself in some way to try and undo the depressingly obvious argument you were making of “Stop being uppity bitchez” feel free. Or you could leave, your first comment made it clear you and the denizens of Pharyngula won’t be getting along.

    I believe nothing of the sort, is that enough of a denial or are you just going to keep assuming shit?

    Based on the facts that news accounts report, JWT, an indian ad agency, prepared what it calls a “speculative rendering,” which was not published as an advertisement. (in short it was probably a pitch board). After the ad was posted online without authorization, Ford immediately said “they were never intended for paid publication,” it “never should have been created,” and “we’ve dealt with the people who did it.”

    My opinion is that an ad agency in India prepared a sexist and tasteless cartoon, that most people involved immediately recognized it for what it was, and that Ford generally responded appropriately.

    But, by all means, don’t let me get in the way of your outrage.

  95. kate_waters says

    So, Ben P, the fact that someone even thought creating that piece of garbage isn’t grounds for being upset? The fact that this kinds of shit even exists is not reason enough to be angry?

    Not everyone in this thread is pissed off with Ford, you know. Some people are just plain pissed that shit like this even exists or that assholes out there think it’s funny.

    But don’t let the facts get int the way of your outrage, pumpkin.

  96. Ben P says

    o, Ben P, the fact that someone even thought creating that piece of garbage isn’t grounds for being upset? The fact that this kinds of shit even exists is not reason enough to be angry?

    Not everyone in this thread is pissed off with Ford, you know. Some people are just plain pissed that shit like this even exists or that assholes out there think it’s funny.

    But don’t let the facts get int the way of your outrage, pumpkin.

    If you get outraged every time any random person out in the world acts like an asshole, you spend, in my opinion, way too much of your time angry.

    People are assholes, even if the specifics vary. This is highly unlikely to change. There will always be someone who holds an opinion so offensive that you can’t possibly believe it exists. Frothing about that in blog comments is about the second most useless thing you can do. (I think the most useless is swearing out a fatwa).

  97. Ben P says

    But don’t let the facts get int the way of your outrage, pumpkin.

    And Pumpkin is a horrifically offensive term to us orange Americans, I demand you stop using it at once.

  98. carlie says

    People are assholes, even if the specifics vary. This is highly unlikely to change.

    Yes. There has never been any progress made in getting people to not act like assholes in public and poison societal interactions.

    Fucking idiot.

  99. kate_waters says

    Wow, Ben, you’re telling me to stop getting angry abou thtings and they’ll just go away? That “that’s just the way it is”?

    I guess people shouldn’t have gotten pissed off about homophobia or slavery or child labour? Because being pissed off about those things certainly didn’t change them, did it?

    Oh. Wait. You’re just a fucking clown who wants people to shut up so you can keep on being an asshole without having to face the consequences.

    Got it.

    Now go fuck yourself and fuck off.

  100. kate_waters says

    …and, Ben?

    Fuck you, pumpkin. You’re a chuckleheaded cupcake. If you don’t like what we have to say then stop being so ANGRY about it and get the fuck out of here, go play with your buddies at 4chan and reddit, and wallow in your mire of doodbro shit.

    …and while you’re at it, can you even address the points I made, or are you just too stupid to understand them?

  101. WharGarbl says

    @kate_waters
    #120
    While Ben P’s attack is a bit too over generalized, I would like to point out a few things.

    the fact that someone even thought creating that piece of garbage isn’t grounds for being upset? The fact that this kinds of shit even exists is not reason enough to be angry?

    Yes, everyone should be upset that stuff like this got created. However, my post that Ben P initially referenced (#47) was pointing out the fact that Ford had already rejected the ads and never asked for that kind of ad to be requested (they likely asked for some draft works, and got… well, that). Basically, the outrage should not be directed at Ford as they have no control (outside of after-the-fact reprimands) over whether the ads go out through other means.

    Not everyone in this thread is pissed off with Ford, you know. Some people are just plain pissed that shit like this even exists or that assholes out there think it’s funny.

    True, but some are and my posts was meant for them. Outrage should not be directed to the wrong party that, as far as we know, behaved fairly reasonably so far.

  102. Rey Fox says

    Frothing about that in blog comments is about the second most useless thing you can do.

    And yet, here you are.

  103. kate_waters says

    WharGarbl, if he’s saying people are pissed off just for the sake of being pissed off, that being angry about this kind of thing is useless, that I, personally, have no right to be angry…

    Then I’m going to give him the blast of shit he deserves.

    If you’re trying to tell me I should be “nicer”, then you’re talking to the wrong woman. I refuse to be “nicer” to people trying to fucking tone troll or tell me what I can, can’t, should or shouldn’t be angry about. Which was the gist of what he said in his reply to me. Which has nothing to do with anything you may or may not have said.

    But it’s interesting that you think I have to butt out of “your” conversation. Is that a case of “Hush, honey, MENZ are talking!”? I bloody well hope not, because FFS after the threads here in the last few days I think some good old fashioned red-as-blood anger is warranted over this kind of crap.

    Your mileage may vary, but this isn’t your blog, is it?

  104. anchor says

    This is beyond disgusting. I used to work in an art room – that’s a finished ad, ready to go. Interesting. Very interesting.

    Yes, it is (“beyond disgusting…very interesting”) and you gotta know it got that way (“finished”, “ready to go”) over a fair period of time, going through the rounds with painstaking iterations of polishing this and final touches on that, with meticulous attention poured into its development, discussions in meetings to ‘improve’ it, and discerning eyes all over it to make sure it has ‘what it takes’ – all of it under the sustained snickering har-har-harring of developmentally-arrested staff supervisors all the way up to the company suits who sign off on shit like that…and know how to backpedal-out a profuse simulation of apologies.

    I hate ad agencies.

  105. kate_waters says

    To everyone else:

    Yeah, I’m on a hair trigger today. I’m sick and tired of the garbage the assholes are spewing here and I’m not going to listen to one more junk-for-brains nitwit trying to get me to “clam down, honey” over something as fucking disgusting as that ad.

    Which, if you read what Ben P said in his reply to me, is EXACTLY what was happening here.

    If the rest of you, besides WharGarbl and Ben, don’t think I have a point, let me know.

  106. carlie says

    “It’s not a big deal” gets said about every microaggression out there, and an awful lot of macroaggressions as well.

    The only thing saying “it’s not a big deal” conveys is that the person saying it knows nothing about sociology or psychology.

  107. twosheds1 says

    People are assholes, even if the specifics vary. This is highly unlikely to change. There will always be someone who holds an opinion so offensive that you can’t possibly believe it exists. Frothing about that in blog comments is about the second most useless thing you can do. (I think the most useless is swearing out a fatwa).

    Save your breath, Ben. Any time you deviate from the groupthink you get derided as an asshole. They won’t bother responding to the points you make, they’ll just resort to ad hominem attacks, and clap themselves on the back for being so open-minded.

  108. kate_waters says

    Oh look! Someone who doesn’t know what ad hominem is!

    What a shock! I am, frankly, shocked! Shocked and awed! Surprised, even!*

    *This is some silly sarcasm, which I am carefully pointing out because I’m fairly sure the latest crop of chuckleheads won’t get it.

  109. twosheds1 says

    Yes. There has never been any progress made in getting people to not act like assholes in public and poison societal interactions.

    Obviously not.

  110. WharGarbl says

    @kate_water
    #128

    WharGarbl, if he’s saying people are pissed off just for the sake of being pissed off, that being angry about this kind of thing is useless, that I, personally, have no right to be angry…
    Then I’m going to give him the blast of shit he deserves.

    And I agree that you have every right to, and perfectly justified in doing so.

    If you’re trying to tell me I should be “nicer”, then you’re talking to the wrong woman. I refuse to be “nicer” to people trying to fucking tone troll or tell me what I can, can’t, should or shouldn’t be angry about. Which was the gist of what he said in his reply to me. Which has nothing to do with anything you may or may not have said.

    I was not trying to tell you to be “nicer”. I responded because Ben P quoted my post as support, and I would like to clarify the argument/reasoning my quoted post was trying to make.

    But it’s interesting that you think I have to butt out of “your” conversation. Is that a case of “Hush, honey, MENZ are talking!”? I bloody well hope not, because FFS after the threads here in the last few days I think some good old fashioned red-as-blood anger is warranted over this kind of crap.

    I was not asking you to “butt out” of “my” conversation, instead I was clarifying my previous comments.

  111. kate_waters says

    Why do trolls always assume that we only ever talk about things here, or that none of us are involved in anything in meatspace?

    Is is that they don’t do anything else with their lives and can’t imagine people actually interacting with the world at large? Is is simply an inability to imagine other people are actually real, whole, dynamic beings who can have varied interests?

    This “You’re only talking on a blog and not doing anything” bullshit keeps getting thrown around by them, and they just never seem to get that Pharyngula is but a small part of our lives?

  112. WharGarbl says

    @kate_waters
    #136

    This “You’re only talking on a blog and not doing anything” bullshit keeps getting thrown around by them, and they just never seem to get that Pharyngula is but a small part of our lives?

    They’re projecting?

  113. kate_waters says

    @WharGarbl:

    I see now what you’re saying. That makes sense. Like I said, I’m on a hair trigger today. I’m so sick of the same tired, silly, ignorant arguments and complete lack of understanding that’s infected this place in every single thread about women.

    It just sucks so much to have to deal with it over and over and over and over and over…

  114. Rey Fox says

    They won’t bother responding to the points you make

    He made points? I sure didn’t see them.

  115. twosheds1 says

    Is is that they don’t do anything else with their lives and can’t imagine people actually interacting with the world at large?

    I’m on my lunch break.

    It just sucks so much to have to deal with it over and over and over and over and over…

    Then don’t. Honestly, I hear you and understand what you’re saying, but I think a lot of your anger is misplaced. I doubt any of us can change this ad, or the process that led to its creation, so why try? We should focus our energies on the things we can actually change, or least somewhat affect. Yes, I understand that not reacting to it can – sometimes – imply tacit approval, but if we spent time on everything we found outrageous or upsetting, we’d spend all our time doing that and none on what really matters, like posting on Pharyngula.

  116. twosheds1 says

    Mr. Sheds, no one here needs or wants any advice on picking their battles from you.

    Just trying to be nice. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

  117. kate_waters says

    twosheds1:

    So you’re taking your lunch break to lecture me on what I should and shouldn’t be angry about?

    Interesting.

    Are you a man?

  118. says

    anchor

    I hate ad agencies.

    Well, yeah, that’s kind of a given. There’s loads of reasons to hate ad agencies, starting in my book with their very existence.
    twosheds
    You’re even worse at this than Ben P. He actually managed to say something semi-cogent in his first post, although it wasn’t anything that half a dozen people hadn’t pointed out already and he spent the next couple sentences going merrily on his way to pointless jackassery. You, on the other hand, started with pointless jackassery straight out, and haven’t improved. Try harder if you want anyone to take you seriously.

  119. says

    What the fuck is wrong with you people?

    Defending conspiracy theories, calling random posters out.

    That’s assholery point main. Dali-idiot and Caine the merciless.

    Anyone can make a fake ad. Yes, the toxic environment that led to this being an appropriate joke anywhere but some private portfolio is a problem… But using it as a reason to bash commenters suggesting that conspiracy talk doesn’t help anything?

    Yeah, that doesn’t help anything.

    Assholes.

  120. says

    Dunno, they’ve managed to portray the sort of vehicle that has boot space for all your family shopping or self run business needs as exactly the sort of masculine agro-car said vehicle…isn’t.

    It goes; are you with us or against us?
    Empathic, well adjusted people are repulsed by this advert but they’re stupid and wrong. Just like they’re wrong about women not being sluts who deserve it. How dare they try to control me!! Storm out the room, slam the door on the way out and aspire to buy the sort of car an overpaid sports star goes on to die in in a crash.
    And also, now this car.

    Besides, a may devil-may-care arseholish attitude to life in general seems to be what keeps traffic moving in India. Could argue that the company has deliberately picked that corner of the market because they’re the ones most likely to wreck the thing and spend money on a replacement parts.

    Because nobody in Advertising listened to Bill Hicks.

    Also, more men should be really insulted by this sort of thing.

  121. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @29. bittys :

    @27 David Marjanovic : “Yes, in that… I don’t understand that one at all. Like, 0 % of it.”

    It’s Michael Schumacher in the front, with some of his rival F1 drivers in the boot (I ‘m not particularly a fan of the sport, so I can’t say for certain who they are)

    The one on the left is Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull team*, triple champion), the one in the middle is Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes team, 2008 world champion) and the one on the right is Fernando Alonso. (Ferrari team, 2005 & 2006 world champion)

    The women by contrast are all known celebrities, the women are (far as I’m aware) unknown objectified, sexualised individuals.

    The “ad” is appallingly sexist and implies all sorts of criminal and cruel acts to follow.

    * All teams listed as of this year.

  122. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    The women by contrast are all known celebrities,..

    That’s men obviously. Typo, dammit, sorry.

  123. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. Michael Schumacher – indeed the one in the driving seat -is a seven times F1 champion who retired (again) from the sport at the end of last year.