Fiat’s second foray into Faithless "prommercials" further blurs the lines between music and advertising, and branded entertainment.
Fiat aired its latest music video during a Big Brother TV broadcast in the UK on August 15, booking the entire three-minute commercial break on Channel 4.
But what exactly was that Feelin’ Good concept video featuring the Fiat Punto Evo? An ad, or a brand buy, sponsorship, or product placement? All of the above.
100,000 You Tube views and robust blogging lead Ruth Simmons, CEO of UK-based audio branding consultancy soundlounge, to comment that "if impressions are the metric for success, we at soundlounge acknowledge a winning formula.”
That formula puts the concept ahead of the product. There’s not one mention of the Punto Evo car in the music advert, Simmons notes, adding that “Feelin’ Good has already dropped off the top 200 iTunes download chart after reaching a less-than-inspiring rank. It’s actually been described by critics as one of the more radio-unfriendly tracks on the new Faithless album.”
Faithless, the band, remains faithful: “We’re always looking at new ways to get our music to different audiences and exploring new ideas. The idea of showing our latest video on TV during an ad break is a first for us or any other band.” (The song, days after its debut, hovered at #136 in the UK charts.)
The relationship between bands and brands, it seems, is up for grabs. The music industry is eager to partner with musical artists as dwindling budgets and quickened digital release windows overshadow the languid days of building a fan following gradually, over time.
“As often happens, when a brand uses music for ‘cool’ appeal, the partnership looks to be more beneficial for the band. They get the production of their music video and TV coverage paid for by the brand – more immediate exposure than they would ever get from their record company’s stretched marketing budgets,” says Simmons.
As for Fiat - “This is not just about a brand sponsoring a band. It’s much more than that – we are co-creating a promotion,” commented Elena Bernardelli, marketing director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK & Ireland.
“Punto Evo is leading the way in innovation, so we were thrilled to get involved with another music initiative that reflected our forward-thinking approach. It was essential for us that we didn’t just place the Punto Evo in the video – we wanted it to be at the heart of the storyline.”
Where the hearts and checkbooks of consumers are, however, remains to be seen. But as traditional sponsorships morph into nuanced prommercials, clearly the dance is on – choreographing new steps between brands, bands, and fans.