Friday, July 12, 2013

Fiat Sings The Body Electric

by Karl Greenberg,
Fiat has a couple of things going on this month. First, and probably most incredible, is a new print ad and “making-of” video for the 500 Abarth Cabrio. The ad, via The Richards Group, is basically a beauty shot of the car -- except it's not the car. It's a representation of the 500 comprising a dozen or so females -- dancers, models and contortionists -- who are painted to represent specific parts of the 500, and then arranged puzzle-like to embody -- literally -- the car. The ad will run in ESPN the Magazine’s "Body" Issue, which hit stands Thursday. Behind-the-scenes video content is on the company’s YouTube site.
Actually, Fiat is not the first company to do something like this, or to use graphic artists to create something surprising that, in at least one case, is obvious only when one views a "making of" video. Toyota has used gymnasts to tout its Prius, except in that case the dancers and gymnasts were intertwined to create a giant human.
And there was an ad for the Ford Fusion, under the umbrella theme that the car makes other cars invisible, in which artist Liu Bolin and photographer Jeff Ludes created a street scene in which cars around the Fusion were transparent, all done with paint and photographic angles that aligned the painted sidewalks and trees on the cars with the real background, making the cars disappear. But Fiat’s effort is probably a first in terms of using people to make the actual car.
The second program -- via SapientNitro -- is the introductory push for the $30,000 Fiat 500e, an electric powertrain variant of the diminutive car, which is rolling into Fiat dealerships in California and is, per the company, pre-sold out.
With the campaign, the Detroit-based company is focusing on the state’s electric-friendly policies, delineating the incentives and rebates the state offers citizens who buy hybrids or electrics as well as the charging station infrastructure there.
The site plays on the idea of men and women who have met their ideal -- perhaps everyone’s ideal -- mate, with the 500e as the romantic linchpin. In the videos, the man or woman talks about their fabulous relationship, with the car in the background. Woven into the lovey-dovey are references to the California rebates for the vehicle.