Fiat's 'Immigrant' Campaign: Better Or Worse Than J-Lo?

July 19, 2012

Fiat has kicked Jennifer Lopez to the curb in a new marketing campaign designed to show off the growing Fiat 500 family.

That in itself isn't so strange. For Fiat's accounting team, J-Lo was probably a very spicy meatball -- one that would've been expensive to keep onboard. 

And in fairness, J-Lo (and Charlie Sheen and Catrinel Menghia) did what she was hired to do: raise awareness of the Fiat 500 among young city-dwellers in search of a cute, fun, easily parkable ride.

The new angle

The first ad of Fiat's new campaign depicts the Fiat 500 family (the base model, the cabrio, and the Abarth) jumping into the Mediterranean from the Amalfi Coast and swimming to New York. 

That in itself may explain why J-Lo is nowhere to be seen. After all, if Lopez is expensive on dry land, can you imagine how much extra it would cost to get her wet?

More interesting, however, is the fact that the campaign carries the emotionally, politically charged title, "Immigrants", which is likely to polarize Fiat's audience.

Haters will immediately point to the fact that Fiat is an Italian company which has now gobbled up a majority ownership in Detroit-based Chrysler. Images of Fiat's wee "immigrants" swimming to America are also likely to generate some extremely offensive comments from xenophobes. (The fact that the backing music includes a tune by Pitbull -- a Miami-born Cuban American -- probably won't help matters.)

Our take?

We generally fall in line with Fiat fans, who'll find a lot to like in this new campaign. It's fun, it's edgy, it's very well made, and it's sure to generate conversation. It also gives viewers a nice look at the broadening Fiat range (though we would've appreciated a glimpse of the 500L, too).

Our only complaint is the music. We're willing to forgive Arianna, who sings the opening clip, since she's got some Italian credentials, but Pitbull -- a man so loathed that the internet is sending him to Alaska? Couldn't Fiat have kept the Italian theme going with an Italian American artist? Joey Fatone, perhaps? A Robert De Niro rap? A house mix of Rosemary Clooney's classic "Come on-a My House"? Seems like Olivier Francois & Co. dropped the ball. 

Have a look at the clip above, and judge for yourself. Does it make you want to welcome Fiat into your own garage or send the 500 packing back to Sorrento? Drop us a line, or leave a note in the comments below.

[h/t Joel Feder]

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