Give Me Some (Fiat) Panda Love

June 1, 2010
Many, many years ago, on a continent far, far away (Europe), I got a ride in a Fiat Panda, the original one, which I think had a rousing total of 45 horsepower, and possessed such poor build quality that it would have made  a vodka-soaked, Communist era Lada line worker recoil with socialist disgust at the rickety and slipshod assembly. And before I actually got into the car with three other people on our way to some over-priced, over-snooty London nightclub, I had a real moment of fear and trepidation.
I thought there is no way I am getting into this motorized deathtrap piloted by a snooty, poorly dressed, attitude-ridden Brit, who couldn't end a sentence without saying 'cheers' or brill' or some other snappy saying that was in at the time. But, at the behest (read: threat of violence) of my girlfriend with whom I was traveling, I did climb in and began to pray that this car would get us to where we going alive.
And we were off in a dash. And you know what? While there was a palpable amount of fear splashed across my face, the faster this woman drive, cigarette between her fingers as she shifted like a practiced expert, the more I began to like this little car. And if you know the first gen Panda, little is an understatement.
Which brings me to the subject of this post, the brand new Fiat Panda and a commercial that I had to watch a few times before it really sank in that it was a darn good piece of automotive marketing.
After you watch it, you'll appreciate the subtle humor you can find in a brand new Fiat Panda being crash-tested--with a giant panda bear in the front seat. You get a few good shots of the panda (both animal and car) being smashed about as it hits the barrier, or as the barrier hits it, and the bear gets tossed about like a Ling-Ling piñata.
And if the imagery isn't enough, you get it all mixed together with Freddie Mercury belting out "Save Me" as the musical score to go with it. And then comes the tagline: "Engineered for a lower impact on the environment"--and the smile came over my face, thinking this is absurd, bizarre and brilliant. And of course, it was done by a French ad agency, hence the absurdity and humor rolled into one.
Enjoy this clever ad:

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