Italian Politician Slams Ford for ‘Gay’ Ad

19 June 2001

A print and outdoor campaign for Ford Motor’s Ka range has provoked a handful of politicians into condemning the ads for allegedly promoting a gay lifestyle.

The campaign, created for Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide by respected international Roman architect Alessandro Mendini, depicts a red Ka surrounded by sketches and words in Italian and English– ‘New Symbols’, ‘Obsession’ and ‘Love’ – in the architect’s handwriting plus his signature. The aim is to associate the brand with avant-garde design

So far, so innocent, you might think. However, incorporated into the scribblings are two small male figures in a pose that some might interpret as affectionate. As, indeed, did members of the National Alliance, a right-wing political party with Fascist roots and now the second largest group in the Berlusconi coalition government.

“The ad shows two men ... in a stylized but unequivocal manner in a serious ambiguous posture that could draw the attention of minors who might in turn be induced to imitate what they see," frothed National Alliance deputy Teodoro Buontempo. So offended are his susceptibilities, that Buontempo is drafting legislation inviting prime minister Berlusconi to ban any ad that might tempt macho Italians into a gay lifestyle.

Responded Ford spoke Ninni Rosello: “We don't see anything wrong with the ad and we can't change our strategy every time one person says he is offended.” O&M likewise felt no need to apologise for its campaign.

News source: AdAge Global