#Scamadgate: Ball in Ford India’s court now

28 Mar,2013

By A Correspondent


Everyone likes free publicity, but Ford India couldn’t have bargained for this. As MxMIndia Editor-at-Large Anil Thakraney wrote in his tri-weekly blog ‘Hard Knocks’: It’s only within the global ad frat that the names of WPP and JWT crop up. To the rest of the world, Ford is the offender.


Ford has been in damage control mode as it apologized on Day 1.


“The investigation over what happened is ongoing,” Ford spokesperson Chris Preuss told Advertising Age. “Obviously, appropriate actions will be taken up to and including the dismissal of individuals who were found to be culpable.”


To the questions, MxMIndia sent to Ford India, Head of Communications Deeptie Sethi wrote back: We have a process to investigate internal matters, and as such, we are conducting an investigation to determine how this happened. Once the investigation is complete we will take the appropriate action, if needed.”


But there’s a problem with what the folks at Ford are quoted at various places.


Like this one from Scott Monty who oversees Global Digital Communications. Reacting to  a post on the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Journal editor Nicholas Elliott where he has said among other things that “this kind of control failure can require serious remedial work and put a company’s good name at risk”.


Mr Monty wrote to Mr Elliott:


You neglected to share that these were not part of any ongoing or commercially commissioned work for Ford by JWT and that the images in question were not part of our standard review and oversight process. In short, these were not Ford ads.

Hoping you can clear this up.”


This message was posted on Tuesday, March 26, by which time one is sure Ford officials would know what really happened. But if the ads weren’t part of any ongoing or commercially commissiond work, then what were they were doing at the Creative Abby, where an entry requires the okay of the client and the ads entered should’ve been used commercially, unless used for charity.


On the issue of Ford firing JWT, there has been some discussion online. To a comment by BL Ochman to an AdAge story where s/he said (edited):  “These ads were despicable on every level. Agencies have been fired for one errant Tweet, and Ford’s keeping JWT India?! Seriously?”, Mr Monty wrote back: “As we said, BL, the relationship with WPP goes way back and is a global one. It’s not quite as simple as you describe.”

JWT, we believe, shouldn’t be too worried about the sack, because right now, it’s Ford that’s goofing it.


In response to the MxMIndia tweet promoting our Big Story on Wednesday, Sanjay Tripathy, Executive Vice President – Head Marketing, Products and Direct Channels at HDFC Life, tweeted back: “Completely agree.. Ford India Marketing Head should also go”.


Elsewhere to a Facebook post, KR wrote: “Without Ford agreeing to this JWT India scam ad, this would have never ever seen light of the day. All I feel is that, Ford India folk’s heads should have been rolled, not JWT India guys..!!!”


To repeat what Ford India’s Ms Sethi told us: “We are conducting an investigation to determine how this happened. Once the investigation is complete we will take the appropriate action, if needed.”

Clearly there will be a lot of people to know what’s come out in the problem. Anyone for ACP Pradyuman? We have one  in our midst.


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