This weekend was hell for Ford Motor Co.’s public relations team. After receiving news that disturbing mockup print ads for the company’s Figo model were circulating the internet, it was all hands on deck.
The ads depicted women tied and gagged in the trunk of the car. One ad displays former Italian Prime Minister driving the car with three women tied up in the trunk.
“Leave your worries behind with Figo’s extra-large boot,” read the tagline.
Employees at the firm that had created the ads posted them to a website to show off their creativity. Ford states that these ads were NOT commissioned by the company OR approved.
This is a public relations nightmare to say the least, but Ford did all it could to respond quickly and gracefully and really what else can be done?
“We deeply regret this incident and agree with our agency partners that it should have never happened,” the company said in a statement. “The posters are contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford and our agency partners. Together with our partners, we are reviewing approval and oversight processes to help ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”
The company clearly states to the public that they are sorry for the actions of the company. They don’t place the blame, but rather they take control of the situation and explain how these ads are contrary to their standards of professionalism and similar to their agency partners.
But, Ford did make a mistake. Although they issued a public statement, the company had not issued an apology on its website or any social media platform. This becomes an issue because this is where the public goes for an inside look. They want a personal apology and what’s more personal than a company’s Twitter or Facebook page?
A lot can be learned from Ford’s mistake. They did react in a decent time and they did release a statement taking the blame but they missed a crucial part of the process – social media.
Ford could have issued an apology on their Twitter, I mean, it is only 140 characters.
Check out what others think on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ford