BERLIN: Germany's armed forces drew a severe rebuke Thursday from workers at Ford and Volkswagen over a recruitment advertising campaign that some said lacked respect.
In its bid to attract employees who are facing job cuts at the German plant of US auto giant Ford, the army took out an ad in a local tabloid bearing the slogan "Job's gone? Do what really pays".
But the wordplay involving the use of the German word "Fort" for a job being "gone", presented in Ford's logo, proved a step too far.
Ford's worker's council slammed the campaign as "disrespectful".
"The armed forces are trying to push its own interests with no consideration for the difficult situation faced by our company and the sensitive atmosphere among the employees," it said in a post on Facebook.
The workers' council said Ford had sought in the last few days to stop the campaign.
But the defence ministry had been unwilling to engage, it said.
Defending the campaign, a spokesman for the ministry said its aim was to "present employment alternatives to people who are affected by job cuts".
A similar campaign also hit German car giant Volkswagen, with the army dispatching a vehicle bearing the slogan "Dare to take on a job for the people" to drive around VW's Wolfsburg headquarters.
In German, the slogan "Einen Job fuers Volk wagen", is a wordplay of the company's name.
Ford said in March it would slash more than 5,000 jobs in Germany as part of a major restructuring to boost profitability at the US car giant's European operations.
Meanwhile, at Volkswagen, 5,000 to 7,000 jobs are due to go in the next five years.