First there was Jennifer Lopez introducing the Fiat 500 to buyers in the United States, then it was a controversial spot during the Super Bowl titled "Seduction," and now Charlie Sheen lends his bad-boy image to a brand that clearly doesn't want to be a "chick car."
In the latest spot, Charlie Sheen races around a mansion in a Fiat 500 Abarth, then steps out with a ankle monitor, embraces one of the women gathered for a party and declares that he enjoys house arrest. The tagline is "Not all bad boys are created equal."
It is perfect strategy for the Abarth, which is Fiat's bad-boy version of the 500. But as timing is everything, we wonder if Charlie Sheen's 15-minutes of bad-boy fame weren't up 6-9 months ago, and the spot would have premiered better on the testosterone-driven Super Bowl broadcast. While we get that JLo didn't provide that needed testosterone to fuel the brand, we're not sure if Sheen is the right choice either.
In our eyes, "Fiat Seduction" is the closest thing to marketing success so far. The ad, which was originally NOT intended to be aired on broadcast television, received so many hits on YouTube that the brand decided to use it during the Super Bowl when the Sheen spot failed to be ready in time. Both "Seduction" and the Sheen spot feature model Catrinel Menghia as the femme fatale.
Keep trying Fiat, we are inspired by your creativity, but worried by your missteps.