Chrysler’s ads for the Fiat 500 starring Jennifer Lopez have become a lightning rod for the car’s disastrous launch. Only 15,826 cars were sold through October of an expected 50,000 (Bloomberg has a higher estimate) and some dealerships have yet to sell a single car.
The Lopez ad campaign appears to be drawing attention to the failure, not hyping sales. No one believes its central premise — that sometimes Lopez will drive through her old ‘hood in the South Bronx in a Fiat 500, jiust to be inspired:
- The Smoking Gun reports that Lopez never actually went to the Bronx to film the ad and that a body double stand-in was used instead. “It is such a breathtaking assemblage of hoary urban clichés, it’s a wonder that Lopez & Co. forgot to include a shot of some grizzled pensioners playing dominoes or a Puerto Rican enjoying some shaved ice,” the site says of the ad.
- On Nov. 20, John Legend, a presenter at the American Music Awards, described J.Lo’s performance — which included a brazen Fiat product placement as she danced like a stripper in a nude bodysuit — as “shameless” on Twitter.
- Adweek said,”She’s just Jenny from the block? Come on, no one believes that.”
- Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. is furious at Lopez for failing to defend her old home when, on American Idol, it was described as a crime-infested drug den by one of the contestants.
- There is an ever-lengthening anti-Lopez/Fiat thread on IHateCommercials.com.
- The comments section under Fiat’s official YouTube video is filling up with posts such as: “That don’t even look like the Bronx jlo hasent been to the block in years estupida ridicula,” from “safire4real.”
Fiat is at risk of experiencing one of the lesser-known, little-discussed effects of advertising: That bad advertising can spread negative publicity about a brand faster than it can create good publicity. Another recent example was Esurance’s Erin, the pink-haired secret agent who was axed from the insurance company’s ads when it became clear her negative ratings were worse than Microsoft’s “Clippy” icon.
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