Few products evoke sex appeal more than automobiles. Auto designers and marketers understand how consumers personify car design and buy based on sex appeal. Consider muscle cars and their manly appeal, and the long-nose designs of sports cars.
And then there is the Fiat 500.
The Fiat 500 is what I call “ugly sexy.”
I am a huge fan of ugly sexy. I’ve been a fan of Saab for this reason. I loved the VW Thing, and the AMC Pacer. Even the Scion xb. Ugly. Sexy.
The Fiat 500 has been ugly sexy since its introduction in 1957. It’s boxy, its tiny, its bulbous in the wrong places. Its headlights are more beady than sultry.
So what is it that makes Fiat 500 so seductive?
Self-confidence of course.
Fiat has a swagger only an Italian ugly car could own. Fiat’s marketer have been working hard to reinforce the “I might be small, I might be a little odd looking, but I own it.”
Sports Ilustrated swimsuit model Catrinel Menghia was hired as the hot, anthropomorphic incarnation of the Fiat 500 Abarth in the now-famous Super Bowl ad introducing the car to America and now viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube.
Then there was the Charlie Sheen spot produced when Sheen was at the height of his bad-boy phase.
And Fiat gives us an Italian lesson in how to hype a battery car, as it introduces the 500e—an electronic vehicle (EV) that’s proving that even ugly sexy can be eco-sexy. Check out how to sell an electronic battery as sex-on-wheels:
Yes it appears that being sex-soaked is a successful strategy—even when selling ugly.