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Decapitated cat doesn't amuse Ford

The automaker says it didn't authorize the ad. The ad agency says that it didn't authorize it - and that the cat isn't real.

Associated Press
Published April 27, 2004

DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford Motor Co. is upset by the release of an Internet advertisement that depicts the decapitation of a computer-animated cat by a power moon roof hatch, saying it didn't authorize the clip.

The ad for the Sportka, a hatchback sold in Europe, shows the realistic-looking orange cat climbing on top of the car and poking its head into the open moon roof, the Detroit News reported recently. The hatch slides closed, the cat struggles briefly and its headless body slides to the ground.

Ford says the clip was conceived without its approval by ad agency Ogilvy & Mather as part of a "viral marketing" campaign for the Sportka. "Viral marketing," a type of e-mail marketing, is the electronic version of word of mouth, usually inviting recipients to forward an e-mail to others.

"We find this unauthorized ad totally unacceptable and reprehensible and deplore the fact that it has been unofficially issued," Ford spokesman Oscar Suris said.

Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide issued a statement saying it also didn't sanction the commercial, which was leaked onto the Internet on April 1.

"Both companies find this unofficial advertisement totally unacceptable and reprehensible," the statement said.

"The action in the video clip was totally computer-generated, and we would like to assure you that no animal was harmed in its making."

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