Even if you have absolutely no interest in the auto industry, lately you’ve probably heard something about the potential tie-up and subsequent unraveling and just-maybe tying the knot between FCA and Groupe Renault. You can’t buy a new Renault (or Dacia or Alpine) in the U.S. market. But you can buy FCA products to your heart’s content: Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Alfa Romeo. . .and Fiat (the “F” in FCA, with the “C” standing for Chrysler).
Fiat is the brand that has on offer the Fiat 500, the diminutive two-door with the arc-like profile. When it was brought to the U.S. market, the woman who was heading the brand in the U.S. then, Laura Soave, said, “Like the original Cinquecento a half-century ago, the new Fiat 500 changes the rules of personal transportation and delivers a new sense of individual expression and opportunity. At a time when America is getting back to basics with a fresh awareness of the environment around, the new Fiat 500 identifies with today’s minimalistic attitude and delivers with state-of-the-art eco-friendly technology wrapped in world-class quality, craftsmanship and style.”
Unfortunately, the 500 in the U.S. market proved to be pretty much not more than a novelty act, one of those things that you see once and never really need to again, but in this case it was a matter of people initially glomming onto it and then showing nothing but disinterest. That is, for all of 2018 FCA sold 5,370 Fiat 500s in the U.S. If you add in the derivatives, the 500L at 1,413 and the 500X at 5,223, the total in terms of vehicle sales is rather abysmal. Arguably, in this age where the Green New Deal is something garnering attention, there is no less “awareness of the environment around,” but the 500 is no longer part of that “back to basics” approach.
Yet the 500 motors on, especially in Europe, where the company turns out model after model with new takes, with two of the most recent being named—and this is real—the “Star” and the “Rockstar.”
Those who buy either of those models will find that there is a BeatsAudio sound system. And for what I imagine is a limited time, those buying a Star or Rockstar will get six months of Apple Music free.
To launch the models, the Leo Burnett Creative Agency developed an ad that was shot in Barcelona and uses, as its soundtrack, “Just One Lifetime” by Shaggy and Sting.
Several years ago, Sting was in a commercial for Jaguar. His physical presence has a cameo now in an ad for Fiat.
Of course, Sting was once in a band named The Police.
The question in the Jaguar ad was “What does a rock star dream of?”
The other day at work, I took some time from my mundane duties to each lunch and get a bit of light Yahoo news. You have to be selective when it comes to your “non-business related” surfing time.
For example, I clicked on a news link once that brought me to a website that was locally related to the article I was reading. From that website, I noticed another article mentioning how a local resident was caught molesting a farm animal.
If you’re a normal, red-blooded American, you can probably guess where my mouse pointed. Of course, I wanted to read about the guy from Alabama that was messing with a pony.
Instinctively, I clicked the story hyperlink, only to be immediately met by my company’s automatic tattle-tale IT security warning window, advising me that my website of choice was not allowed as the word “bestiality” was not related to any job duties within the organization and that my attempt to access such a site would be duly noted.
Fear raced as I began to look for excuses to try and explain to the IT police and human resources why I tried to click on a link to a story about a dude caught with his pants down in the horse stable.
Would I be forever known as the guy that got fired for looking at bestiality porn? Would it become something of legend, replacing the truth until my termination story was due to my own encounter with a farm animal on company property? I should note that my employer is close to a community college with an active agricultural program, so the chance encounter with livestock and farm animals is entirely possible.
Nothing ever came from my bad choices in internet news sites, but I am a bit more selective when it comes to browsing the internet on my work computer.
I visit Yahoo because it seems like a nice homogenized place where people can gather across the country, read incredibly fluffy bits of journalism, and then comment about the inordinate amount of liberal staff members that Yahoo has, spreading their icky little socialist propaganda all over their website.
If that isn’t fucking ridiculous enough, the amount of time all this worthless shit takes to load on my work computer is. The Clash were right, so I mutter “workin’ for the clampdown” as I eat my chicken bacon ranch wrap from the cafeteria while the Yahoo homepage loads on my screen.
All of this so I can read about why we care about Donald Trump’s announcement of his GOP endorsement.
But it’s taking longer to load on this day as I notice that the hang up is due to some Flash advertisement that’s attempting to load before I can even see the story links.
Suddenly, an image of Tommy Lee, that pony-dick drummer from Motley Crue, slides across my screen, followed by the corpse that is Mick Mars, then Nikki “A paramedic saved my life” Sixx and finally Vince Neil, which had me worried that his image might prompt a security warning for attempting to access chicks with dicks website.
But no. All of this Motley Crue Flash activity was not promoting the new album by the Crue, nor was it to remind me that the band was going on tour again, probably performing the exact same setlist they played on their last one.
It was for Kia.
For a band that really hyped up their image as Harley-Davidson riding bad boys, it seemed strange that the band would choose to cash in with South Korea’s second largest automobile manufacturer.
The Cliffs Note version goes like this: Middle age white schmuck consumes enough anti-depressants and Vicodin to believe that he is still the same badass that he was in the 11th Grade when he spent all of his money earned at Burger King on an ’84 Ford EXP with 98,000 miles and a factory cassette deck.
Fast forward some twenty-five years later and this same sad bastard is using his rapid eye memory believing that a Kia Optima is somehow his “dream car for real life.”
I’m sorry, but where I come from one of our hometown heroes drove a ’69 Plymouth Superbird and any Asian car was referred to as a “rice burner.”
No, there would be no convincing my blue-collar brethren that anything with a Kia nameplate, and shame on Motley Crue for trying to suggest otherwise.
If you haven’t heard one of Nikki Sixx’s endless recounting, “Kickstart My Heart” is the story about that aforementioned paramedic who continued to apply shocks to Sixx’s chest after he long expired from a heroin overdose.
Now it seems that Sixx is due for another zap–or at least a head-exploding roundhouse kick to the head from Chuck Liddell–to remind him that these decisions of product placement are only as good the current model year. By Super Bowl XLVII, the Crue will be less known for their history of rock’s premier bad boys and more for their love of fuel-efficient family sedans.
Had the middle-aged sleeper really strived for the life of the Crue’s storied decadence, he would have crashed that Kia into the Hanoi Rocks tour bus, stolen the pixie dust from Mr. Sandman and Hoovered up all that glittery blow off the ass of one of those scantily clad chicks in the NASCAR stands.
Because if any self-respecting Crue fan even considers signing a down payment check for any model of Kia, they need to be reminded of how they’re also signing off on their own do not resuscitate order.
Which is exactly what Motley Crue has done with this commercial and what I have done with my lunch break.
Quick: What comes to mind when you think of Jennifer Lopez?
No, not that. But what do you think of her as regards her profession?
As in: singer, actress, TV reality show judge.
But that’s only scratching the surface because according to Chrysler Group, which is featuring Ms. Lo in a series of commercials for the Fiat 500, she is an “actress, entertainer, philanthropist and entrepreneur.”
Guess they forgot poet, particle physicist, and shrewd judge of character.
Some even argue that when Celine Dion was emoting in a Chrysler Pacifica (no, we don’t blame you if you don’t remember the car and if you’re trying not to remember the Titanic theme song) there was a better fit.
According to Olivier Francois, head of Fiat and chief marketing officer and brand marketing communications for Chrysler, and an otherwise smart guy whom I’ve had the opportunity to talk with, “The primary objective of ‘My World’ [the name of the commercial] was to explore the story of Jennifer Lopez, who is a cultural icon. [Drat! Left it off the list.] We watch as she leaves Manhattan and makes her way back to the Bronx, where she grew up and continues to be inspired by.”
What this has to do with a diminutive Italian car that’s built in Mexico for sale in places including the Bronx—scratch that, there is a Fiat dealership in Brooklyn, but not the Bronx—is quite puzzling. Is one to aspire to the car or to Ms. Lo’s lifestyle?
This awesome ad showcases just how terrible mainstream music has always been, even back in the groovy early seventies, just two years after Woodstock. Baby Boomers all like to pretend everybody was separating their weed on copies of Rolling Stone and listening to “real music” like Led Zeppelin and the Stones, but that’s far from reality. What were people actually listening to? Herb Alpert, Petula Clark, and the Association. At least they only had to pay $1.57. Nice to know that almost 40 years later you can still pick up near-mint copies of any of those records for the exact same price at your local Goodwill store.
The term “sellout” only exists in the lexicon of the over-privileged. Almost every non-homeless person in America is over-privileged, at least in a global sense.
Obviously, I’ve struggled with the concept. I’ve struggled because of the backlash following my songs placement in TV commercials. That is, until I realized that the negative energy that was being directed towards me really began to inspire my creativity. It has given me a sense of, “well, I’ll show them who is a sellout, I’m going to make the freakiest, most interesting, record ever!!!” … “I’m going to prove to them that my shit is wild and unpolluted by the reach of some absurd connection to mainstream corporate America.”
I realized then that, for me, selling out is not possible. Selling out, in an artistic sense, is to change one’s creative output to fit in with the commercial world. To create phony and insincere art in the hopes of becoming commercially successful. I’ve never done this and I can’t imagine I ever will.
So I saw the ad a couple of times last night as I watched the death throes of my beloved Pistons. I thought it was just another clever car commercial that used an outtake from a new album, but apparently it’s much more: VW and Wilco create music and advertising first:
In a new form of music/promotion/communications, the band Wilco’s recently released album Sky Blue Sky is the soundtrack to Volkswagen’s latest TV campaign. This new form of marketing collaboration has the creative forces of Wilco and VW combining to launch both an album and a VW campaign in the same week. The partnership spans multiple commercials and multiple songs, with the first song being “The Thanks I Get.” […] It’s also the first-ever licensing deal for Wilco.
Inevitably, the fans lose their minds arguing about whether or not this constitutes a sellout.
This is perhaps the most succinct snapshot of mainstream American culture in 2007. The Top 12 finalists from American Idol, dressed as hippies and breakdancers, sing a snappy little version of Modest Mouse’s “Float On” in a commercial for—who else?—Ford Motor Co.
Absolutely perfect. This spot has it all. In just 44 seconds, they manage to co-opt and emasculate (at least) three generations of anti-Establishment counterculture: hippies, hip-hop, and indie rock. Welcome to the future! And you thought postmodernism was played out…