- The 2014 Fiat 500L is the star of a new Web series, "Neighbors," on the comedy video site Funny or Die.
- The series depicts the interaction of a suburban American couple with their new Italian neighbors, resulting in a succession of comic misadventures.
- "Neighbors" was inspired by the success of last year's "Backseat Italians" video, in which a Fiat 500L comes equipped with an Italian family in the rear seat.
Even though Fiat says it intended the short films to be typical Funny Or Die videos, rather than commercials, it's not surprising that the four-door 500L is prominently staged in each of them. And the car is mentioned by name several times.
In a series of five vignettes, "Neighbors" depicts the interaction of Liz and Frank, a typical suburban American couple, with their attractive new Italian neighbors, Valentina and Marco. The inevitable clash of cultures provides the catalyst for a succession of comic misadventures.
The series kicks off with "The New Neighbors Are So... Italian," in which the middle-aged Americans meet the stylish young Italians who have just moved into the house next door. The next film, "Express Lane to Trouble," shows the dangers of consuming too much espresso.
"Why Spanking Doesn't Work" demonstrates that the neighborhood boys don't really mind being disciplined by the beautiful new female homeowner. And in "Life's Too Short for Gluten-Free," the American woman finds that she's unable to enjoy a neighborly meal of pasta, bruschetta and cannoli.
In the concluding episode, "When in Rome," an English figure of speech leads to a misunderstanding that ends with the American couple visiting Italy, where they are seen driving a classic Fiat 500.
"Neighbors" was inspired by the success of an earlier video, last year's "Backseat Italians," in which a Fiat-buying American couple learn that their new 500L has come equipped with a bickering Italian family in the rear seat.
That video quickly went viral, generating more than 1.2 million views. Nearly 70 percent of viewers watched the entire three-minute film, and users spent an average of more than four minutes on the Funny or Die page on which it appeared.
Said Olivier Francois,chief marketing officer for Chrysler and head of the Fiat brand, in a statement: "The reaction to our 'Backseat Italians' video proved the power of great content and a passionate fan base that Funny or Die brings to the partnership. Since the launch of this latest series of videos, we've seen an uptick in Web traffic, and this deeper engagement with our brand ultimately leads to Fiat Studio visits."
Edmunds says: Consumers who might overlook a run-of-the-mill ad may very well be drawn into these engaging videos.