How Fiat became relevant again thanks to a successful ad campaign

Every year, the brains behind Detroit’s most successful ad campaigns rack their brains trying to figure out clever ways to entice buyers into getting behind the wheel of the automakers’ newest offerings. More often than not, car ads fall flat and do little to help push new models out of dealer lots. However, every once in a great while, an ad campaign is successful in turning even the blandest models into total hits.

For instance, over the past two years, the marketing team for Fiat has made a brand that had been non-existent in the American market for decades a household name with an aggressive ad campaign fueled by some serious star power.

It was impossible to turn on the TV during 2012 and 2011 without seeing talents such as Jennifer Lopez or Charlie Sheen lending their celebrity to promote the sub-compact 500 model. Even following a recession and the disappearance of brands that had long dominated U.S. roadways, Fiat was able to introduce a whole new kind of car to American roadways.

The company flooded the airwaves with a string of commercials that featured Lopez literally singing the praises of the new car. In one ad, the starlet can be seen causing mayhem on the streets with passers-by stopping in their tracks to not only check out the starlet, but also her sweet new ride.

The carmaker enlisted the help of Sheen, still riding high after a year of high-profile controversy, to drive the compact car around a mansion for another ad. By exuding his bad boy personality, he made the tiny car seem like a renegade’s dream ride.

Though the 500s are taut people-movers, they are hardly what you’d imagine to be an A-lister’s ride of choice. However, after buying a majority stake in Chrysler and benefitting from a financial renaissance, the car maker was able to afford a campaign that bucked the sales trend for many new automakers.

Whether or not the popularity of the Fiat 500 is just a passing fad, this is one ad campaign that was extremely successful in making the once troubled Italian automaker relevant again in a less than friendly market.

Charlie Sheen Fiat Commercial