To some automakers, calling one of their creations a "chick car" is a slap in the face.
They fight back, arguing that their cars have a broad customer base, not the narrow appeal that the name "chick car" implies.
(It's worth noting that antonyms like "muscle car" don't elicit the same reaction. In fact, quite the opposite.)
When it comes to the Fiat 500, though, the situation is a little more complex. In statements and press releases, Fiat insists that the 500 appeals equally to men and women. But then the company releases a Facebook app like "You Wear", and things get muddled, fast.
The "You Wear" app is fairly simple -- brilliantly simple, in fact. It scans the last 25 Facebook photos in which you've been tagged, then conducts a "personality analysis". It's not the kind of Myers-Briggs personality test you learned about in school, though: really, it's just looking to see which color you like to wear most often.
Once that's done, the app tells you a little about yourself, based on your color preference. And naturally, it pairs you with a color-coordinated Fiat 500.
Why would anyone use such an app? Well, for starters, it could help narrow down your shopping choices. According to Fiat, there are over 500,000 possible color combinations on the 500. Winnowing down that number is a good thing.
Users also have the chance of winning one of 50 shopping sprees or the big prize: a VIP trip to London Fashion Week this September. So there's that.
Obviously, this isn't the only marketing campaign for the Fiat 500. There are more conventionally "masculine" promotions for some models -- especially the Abarth. But from where we sit, those are more the exception than the rule.
Translation: Fiat may say that the 500 isn't a "chick car", but it seems to know where its bread is buttered. And honestly, more power to it.
For now, "You Wear" is targeted at Facebook users in the U.K., but if the campaign's successful, we wouldn't be surprised if it rolled out worldwide soon.