The Lack of New Advertising Ideas Leads to Controversy

In the world of advertising, it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with creative ideas. One market that has witnessed this first hand is the automobile industry.  Car companies are constantly trying to create flashy commercials to catch the eye of the consumer.  Newer companies have felt even more pressure to stand out in order to be successful and survive.

The company Fiat first released the Fiat 500 in the USA in March 2011. Their most recent commercial gained success, but it also came with controversy. Since Fiat is an Italian company and Italy is where their business originated, they decided that an immigration theme for advertising would deem most successful in gaining support. The commercial, titled “Immigrants,” depicts a bunch of self-driving cars driving around in Italy until they eventually all drive into the ocean. They resurface in New York and the commercial announces, “The next wave of Italians has come to America, and they’ve come to party. The Italian-Designed Fiat 500.”

Although many thought that the commercial was a stab at the immigration issue disrupting American political waters, Oliver Francois (head of the Fiat brand and chief marketing officer at the Chrysler group) commented “I’m aware that this is a country where you can expect controversy, but we’re just trying to connect the product in the USA to its Italian heritage. Putting the 500 in its context is what we need to do.” He also stated that there is no reference to the vehicles as immigrants, nor to the abnormal way they arrive on the American soil.  Francois obviously disregarded the fact that the commercial was bluntly titled “Immigrants.”

This particular Fiat commercial is not the only one that has made headlines for controversial reasons.  There are many other examples of ways that advertisers have tried to take a new, innovative approach but failed miserably.  Another example includes that Lung Cancer Alliance’s attempt to fit in with modern day society.  Their billboards consisted of slogans such as “Hipsters deserve to die” and “Cat lovers deserve to die,” insinuating these people should die as opposed to lung cancer victims.  While it is dually noted that someone at these advertising agencies should have exercised more common sense, these examples show just how difficult it is for agencies to find new ways to advertise.  In an age where we are more advanced than ever, there are limited ways left to make advertisements new and exciting, which is what gets people listening and eventually buying.

Sasha De Vecchi, Lindsay Gallagher, Jay Reilly, Cary Welborn

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2 thoughts on “The Lack of New Advertising Ideas Leads to Controversy

  1. It is scary that and sad that in today’s world, advertisors will go as far as being discriminating, hurtful, and inappropriate in order to stand out. This post brings to mind a past commercial that GM (General Motives) put out in which a robot jumps off a bridge after messing up at a job. This commercial received lot’s of complaints that it too closely resembled the current issue of many employers being laid off from their jobs and then commiting suidide. This GM commercial sparked discussions and debates, which ultimately goes to show that the company did what they set out to do… gain attention and stand out.

  2. In another Fiat commercial they portray the car as being a tall, beautiful, foreign lady who seduces a regular guy. I saw this commercial before there commercial with the cars being ”immigrants.” I found this commercial to be a bit edgy/controversial and it’s noticeable controversial. Whereas there other commercial with the actual cars ‘swimming’ to America isn’t controversial right of the bat. After reading this article, it clicked and I can see it being controversial.

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