Oh, how the worm turns in the global automotive business.
A savior for battered Chrysler just three years ago, now it is Fiat and its European operations that need some salvaging because of the immense fiscal stress being placed on Italy by its own economic troubles and those of the eurozone. And so with Chrysler a long way down the path to full recovery in the U.S. market, Fiat is turning to that brand’s revival from the darkest days of the U.S. Great Recession for some help in keeping the wolves of gloom from the doors of Italy.
The most interesting result of this turnabout so far is the brand’s new 90-second video for its new Panda minicar that taps into what Reuters calls the “austerity zeigeist.”[more]
The ad showcases its new Panda model, a bit; highlights Fiat’s controversial plan for making its factories more competitive even in the face of Italy’s fiscal crisis; and hits some notes strongly — and intentionally — redolent of the messaging, method and even soundtrack of the now-iconic Eminem “Imported from Detroit” commercial that ran during last year’s Super Bowl.
Shots of workers assembling a car at Fiat’s Pomigliano car factory near Naples are spliced with some of unemployed Italians, street and road scenes from Italy and Panda itself. The Italian-language ad plays very much as the anthemic “Imported from Detroit” spot did, only without a gospel choir — and aiming its message of hope and determination at downtrodden Italians instead of downtrodden Detroiters.
Among other things, the video challenges Italians “whether to be ourselves, or accept the views imposed on us” and “to start anew in the only way we know how: by hard work, and by proving ourselves.”
Interestingly, the ad also directly copies language from Chrysler’s advertising last year for its new Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. One tag line of the new Fiat spot is, “The things we make, make us.”
And, of course, “New Fiat Panda. This is the Italy we like.”
Interestingly, Chrysler brand executives have indicated that they don’t plan to return to the creative well of their “Imported from Detroit” campaign when they advertise in Super Bowl XLVI on February 5. This time around, they’ve said, days are brighter, and the focus will be on new Chrysler products.