Fiat 500 Launches With Channel Five Takeover


The centrepiece of the integrated UK campaign to launch the new Fiat 500 is Britain’s first-ever complete channel sponsorship. For one evening, Five becomes Channel 500 with bespoke idents in the evening and ads in every break.


Within each 25-second ident, Fiat branding appeared for 15 seconds with the cars effectively becoming the channel icon. Indeed, no other car advertiser could advertise during the period of the channel sponsorship.


In the run up to the channel sponsorship, Fiat also ran 100 countdown spots – all meticulously timed to ensure they aired at the correct moment. At Zero Hour, there was also a spectacular launch event at the London Eye, hosted by Virgin Radio DJs and broadcast live.


Five’s flagship motor show Fifth Gear also started on the 500th hour and at the end of the show there was a feature about the Fiat 500, which had been named the show’s Car of the Year.


Other activity included press and online and the marketers invested several hundreds of thousands to target ABC 1 adults with the campaign.


Research showed that the 500, which had already launched in Europe, made consumers smile so this became a clear part of the strategy. Agency Starcom identified 21 January as officially the most depressing day of the year and 500 hours since the start of 2008 – as a time when consumers would be in need of cheering up.


So the timing of the sponsorship was based around this insight.




Being the first advertiser to sponsor an entire channel in UK TV history does show an imaginative and committed approach to creative media execution. It helps position the brand as ambitious, progressive and forward thinking”


Fiat is using the new model to change brand perception. Fifty years after it first launched, the Fiat 500 was being rebuilt, redesigned and relaunched. The Italian carmaker had seen the impact that the new Mini had delivered and wanted the 500 to be equally successful with the same consumers.


The challenge was not just to create demand for the new vehicle, but also to change consumer perceptions of Fiat quality right across the Fiat range.


The 500-hour activity significantly boosted interest in Fiat. Visits to the Fiat website rose by more than 200%, boosting not just the Fiat 500 but also the Grande Punto and Bravo models.


Brand conversations about Fiat rose dramatically, Mini drivers flocked to Fiat sales rooms to check out the new 500, models sold out in launch week and waiting lists continued to grow.


Fiat 500s were sold on eBay for more than the list price.







Leave a comment


Featured Showcases

Leave a comment