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Ford Disavows Cat Decapitation Ad

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AP
Ford Motor Co. is upset by the release of an Internet commercial that depicts a computer generated cat being decapitated, saying it didn't authorize the proposed ad or its release.

The ad for the Sportka, a hatchback sold in Europe, shows the realistic-looking orange cat climbing on top of the car and curiously poking its head into the open moonroof, The Detroit News reported Sunday.

The moonroof slides closed and the cat struggles briefly to escape before 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. A type of e-mail marketing, viral marketing is the electronic version of word of mouth — usually inviting the 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.

In a statement, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide said the unapproved and unofficial video clip was leaked April 1 and transmitted by e-mail around the world. The company said the ad wasn't sanctioned by Ogilvy or Ford.

"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."