Did Fiat Hit A Groove With J-Lo Ad?By AutoObserver Staff September 28, 2011
Chrysler Group LLC made a splash with the automotive marketing community when it signed pop singing sensation Jennifer Lopez to push the 2012 Fiat 500 to always tiny-car-wary U.S. buyers. For the past two weeks, its been hard to turn on the television without catching Fiats controversial and widely panned new 30-second spot featuring Lopez swerving and dodging through a city of pursuing, adoring fans. But just how much has the ad caught the attention of viewers and more importantly car buyers?
According to an analysis of web traffic at Edmunds.com (below), consideration for the Fiat 500 has climbed 31 percent since the J-Lo ad for the 500 (bottom) debuted on September 12 during ESPNs Monday Night Football. Since then, the most notable one-day spike for the vehicle came on September 18, when the ad aired throughout the day on NFL telecasts. Edmunds.com reports that Fiat 500 consideration was up 95 percent on that day alone. On the surface, Fiats decision to make a heavy ad buy during NFL games is a curious move for a car that its almost universally agreed has a particular appeal for female buyers. But a deeper look at NFL audiences shows that women are tuning in to football at all-time high numbers. Ratings statistics issued by The Nielsen Company show that an estimated average of six million females watched NFL regular-season games last season, which is more than the total audience for many successful cable TV shows.
The 500 ad campaign could be viewed the latest buzz-generating marketing play by Chrysler, which is enjoying a year of critical praise for its advertising efforts that started with glowing reviews in February following the debut of the critically acclaimed Imported from Detroit campaign on Super Bowl Sunday. Edmunds.com found that the two-minute ad featuring rapper Eminem boosted consideration for the brand 267 percent in the hours after it aired. The spike soon morphed into a trend, with Edmunds.com reporting Chrysler consideration remained up by 87 percent one week later.
Celebrity endorsements proved to be a success with the Imported from Detroit campaign, but Chryslers decision to make J-Lo the face of Fiat may be more of a gamble in the long term. Reviews far and wide mostly have scoffed at the shallow and unimaginative ad and the insinuation from Chrysler chief marketing officer Olivier Francois that Lopez and the 500 have attributes that are magically connected. Jennifer Lopez certainly helps call attention to a relatively unknown brand in the U.S. for a larger number of consumers, said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. But Imported from Detroit worked for Chrysler in part because it had obvious Detroit tie-ins with Eminem and John Varvatos. J-Lo doesnt seem to have that sort of obvious connection to the Italian Fiat brand.