If getting attention is the mark of successful advertising, then Fiat-Chrysler's chief marketing officer Olivier Francois is a genius.
On Super Bowl Sunday, the Olympics of advertising, Francois won a gold medal with a two minute Chrysler commercial that used a decaying and decrepit Motor City as a backdrop to celebrate cars that are "imported from Detroit." The ad boosted consideration for the Chrysler brand 267% after it aired, according to Edmunds.com and has now been viewed nearly 13 million times on YouTube.
That commercial starred fading rap star Eminem. Now Francois has used Jennifer Lopez, arguably another star somewhat past her prime, to create an extraordinary amount of buzz. For the past two weeks, Francois has aired a 30-second Fiat commercial showing a singing and dancing J.Lo plugging the 500 while fetchingly attired in a midriff-bearing blouse and pleated tap shorts.
The spot was carved out of a nearly six-minute music video promoting her latest album that shows Lopez being mobbed by adoring male fans and causing traffic chaos while driving down the street in a Fiat 500. It concludes with Lopez leading the men in a dance routine seemingly lifted intact from an old Michael Jackson video.
Critics are mystified about the connection between J.Lo and the Italian brand and have called have called irrelevant and pointless. Asked one reader of Advertising Age: "What is the association between a washed-up talentless diva and a car company that's looking to reintroduce its brand into the U.S.? She's endorsing anything and everything that will pay her to do so, and Fiat is muddying itself by associating with her. This is a completely nonsensical move on Fiat's part. Everything she touches becomes worthless. She has no brand and that will rub off onto Fiat. Ciao, baby."