By on November 24, 2010

…and this is Fiat’s. The Italian brand left the US market in 1982, but it has returned with a first ad that seems like it was made sometime in the late 1990s. It’s a good thing the 500 has been relatively wellreceived, because it isn’t cheap and it clearly doesn’t have a fraction of the MINI’s marketing mojo. Between this, the “my tank is full” Ram ads (not to mention the entire first wave of “New Chrysler” ads), and the hallucinogenic Caravan spots, it seems like Chrysler’s Olivier Francois should be up for some kind of special award this year…

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32 Comments on “The Journey Of Redemption Begins With A Single Step…...”

  • avatar

    I liked the ad, and I love that little 500. I think it will be a huge success. Chrysler is usuing emotional appeals with their new ads.

  • avatar

    FIAT 500 was the only car with a line of people waiting to get into it at the LA Show, according to someone who reported on the show for autoextremist.

  • avatar

    1995? Fiat pulled out of the USA in 1982, although Malcolm Bricklin kept importing X1/9s as Bertones. The last ones came over in 1987, although they took a couple years to sell. 124 Sport Spiders imported as Pininfarinas ceased a couple years sooner.

  • avatar

    If my calculations are correct, the 500 will be the first sub-exotic (aka unobtainable to 99% of Americans) Italian car available new in the U.S. since Alfa pulled out in 1995 (and their sales could be counted in three digits for the past few years they were here).  I don’t think it’s wrong of Fiat to try to play up the “La Dolce Vita” aspect of Italian design in their ads. 

    One thing I would recommend is that they show the interior of the 500 a bit in this ad… It’s really beatifully done and is a key differentiator for that vehicle.  The car is really cute in person, but the white on in the commercial looks dowdy. 

  • avatar

    This is a car commecial? I’ve seen more of the 500 on TTAC than here.

  • avatar

    I just don’t get this car.
    But cute is wrong on our highways.
    It’s like a fragile city egg car.
    And who in hell would put their family in one, as the ad does seem to suggest.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re aware we have cities on this continent too, right?

    • 0 avatar

      If the 500’s not for you TrailerTrash, don’t buy one, but don’t confuse “big” with “safe”.
      The 500 scores a full 5 star adult occupancy protection rating on the Euro NCAP ratings (roughly equivalent to your NHTSA) full results are here:
      There aren’t many big american cars sold in Europe so it’s hard to offer a good comparison but Chrysler sell their big people carrier the Voyager, I doubt you’d blink at anyone carrying their family down the highway in one of those so lets see how it compares?
      1.5 stars. still think bigger = better? I know which one I’d rather be in in an accident.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry splateagle, but if a 500 and a van meet head on, the only injuries to the van passengers will be psychological from watching the Fiat passengers die.

    • 0 avatar

      Uh… are both of you living in the backwoods where knowledge of things such as airbags and crumple zones is non existant.
      I know South Dakota can be pretty rural… but you did find internet access.
      Or both of you could just be ignorant and still live by bigger is always safer mantra.

    • 0 avatar

      You seem to have a little bit of knowledge Roundel, and it isn’t of physics, real world crash data, or the IIHS tests run of different sized cars within manufacturers’ model lines. There are small vehicles that are relatively safe in single vehicle crashes, but size is still your friend in multivehicle accidents.

    • 0 avatar

      @ CJinSD YouTube is your source of supporting evidence? Seriously? :D
      By all means stick your head in the sand. I’ll stick to entrusting my safety to proven safety features like structural safety cages, crumple zones and airbags thanks.

  • avatar

    The song is “Beautiful” by Moby…. “look at us; we’re beautiful…”.

    Fiat has a cute car – that’s its first selling point.  Fiat has always made good-looking cars; they just want you to forget about the 70s reliability problems.

    I don’t think its pricing is out of line, though.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Reminds me of the early Infiniti ads, with the views of birch trees waving in the wind, quiet zen like perfection. Didn’t show the car at all.
    I like the 500.
    This ad and that car takes me back to my early days backpacking across Europe, with a blond Austrian girlfriend, none of which actually happened, but it is the image I get. I want one.

  • avatar


    Would you put your family in a MINI? This car is DIRECT competition to the MINI – not to a mini-VAN. Perfect for urban singles, or as a second car commuter mobile.

    I think the pricing is excellent, they actually start a LOT cheaper than I was expecting. I played around with the build-your-own on the website, I would be perfectly happy with the base POP at $15.5K. Make mine white with the red and white interior! Would go quite nicely with my pair of Alfa Romeos. :-)

  • avatar

    The imagery seems like a hundred other body wash or snack cracker commercials with a ‘hey, let’s live!” bouncy theme.
    At time mark 00:35 the car looks like a dwarfmobile on the road as it drives toward the camera and gives off a uncrashworthy vibe.
    Using an Italian joy-of-living perspective probably works when it used to sells food, wine or clothes to Americans but not for this midget car.

  • avatar

    I think it’s a car that’ll sell itself. Fiat certainly sold me on one! That it’s priced lower than a Mini should help out a lot.
    My dad thinks the Cinqueciento is adorable, and he’s as manly as they come.

  • avatar

    I really like the 500.  I really hate this ad.  It could be advertising anything, there’s what, 10 seconds of car in there?  And they chose white?  Half the cars on the planet are white, how blah can you get?  As Steve said, show the interior, it’s quite distinctive.  Sure some people will hate it, but they won’t buy the car anyway.  Fiat needs to change advertising companies stat, they have to get this launch right.

  • avatar

    Up until the last 20 seconds, I thought that this ad was trying to sell me a prescription for genital herpes.
    If the Italians would just embrace their stereotypes, Joe Pesci would make a great spokesperson for the 500.

  • avatar

    The add didn’t really say anything about the car other than it can move under it’s own power, and it’s small. I hear these emotional-type adds are actually more effective (on most people) though, and if that’s the case, I suppose this one is a winner. Who doesn’t like being in control, and living with passion (please disregard the fact that a compact car doesn’t really help you do that)? Come to think of it, I think this would’ve made a pretty decent add for something like a Lotus Elise. That really IS living with passion, caution-to-the-wind kind of car.
    The car, from the front, looks like a late 90’s Neon.

  • avatar

    Francoise? Was that an insult, or just a GFE?

  • avatar

    Dreadful ad. The UK launch ad wasn’t perfect, but it was miles better than that tripe… I’d have thought it offered a better template for the US launch:

  • avatar

    “but it has returned with a first ad that seems like it was made sometime in the late 1990s.”
    That’s exactly what I kept thinking.

  • avatar

    I have a prolem with the image of the couple “taking control of their lives” by riding a motorcycle without helmets!  Hopefully that little bit doesn’t make it into the 15 and 30-s versions of the ads that actually air.  Also, it’s kind of an unfortunate analogy, no? “Yes, it’s fun, even if terribly unsafe…”

  • avatar

    IMHO, the 500 is just OK….not as iconic looking as the Mini…not even as good as the new bug.  It reminds me of a squashed Dodge Neon. It should be more radical to inspire more passion.

  • avatar

    The 90s were certainly a heck of a lot better time than now. 

    Most people don’t have any idea what a Fiat is let alone know it exists.  Italianess is a huge part of this car’s charm and image.  I think the ad did a good job of conveying that.

    Besides, the car isn’t even released yet.  They have time to come up with more advertising.

  • avatar

    This is a teaser ad… nothing more. Thankfully some members of the B&B here aren’t in marketing. This isn’t supposed to be a “saved by zero”  or “put mercury on your list type ad” There needs to be brand awareness and brand message first.
    And Its great that they are playing up the Italian lifestyle and charm that the car offers.

    Oh and this car looks best in white for some reason. I never thought that I would want a white car, but this may be my first.

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