Advertising / Social Media

At last, a great car commercial. And not an ad agency in sight

“I’ve just seen a great car ad.” Now I honestly cannot remember the last time I said that. Or indeed, if I have ever said that before?
Probably not.

Anyway, the great car ad in question isn’t actually an ad as such. With its three-minute run time it would cost a small fortune to air on terrestrial TV.
But that’s not a problem.
Because it doesn’t need to be on TV. And I dare say, it wasn’t created with TV in mind. Because these days you don’t need TV if your ad/film is entertaining enough.

In less than a month since its release it has been viewed over 2.5 million times on YouTube.

Not only that, it has generated acres of press coverage. A cursory search of the internet will turn up pages from The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, Mumsnet.com, The Huffington Post and even the achingly cool Trendhunter.com

So why has this little number for the Fiat 500L (yours for only £15,790) caught the nation’s attention?
Easy. It has an idea behind it. A great big fat mother of an idea.

First up, Fiat organised some focus groups and listened to what their target audience had to say. Then they got some clever planning types to turn that information into a creative brief. And hey presto, ‘The Motherhood Rap’ was born.

Obviously Fiat had already decided that they were going to buck the traditional ad-agency approaches to car advertising.

1)   Hire a random celebrity e.g. Kylie
2)   Show some male-model type looking moody while driving across bridges and along winding roads before he arrives back at his multi-million pound glass and steel edifice of a home to be met by his equally attractive and moody looking wife/girlfriend/lover
3)   A combination of 1 and 2

None of that nonsense for Fiat. Which in itself will have saved them a small fortune. A half decent celeb will easily cost you a cool million, and car shoots are notoriously expensive – overhead helicopter shots, wild locations and the creative team’s bar bill.
It all adds up.

Motherhood Rap, on the other hand, looks like it was shot in a Wimbledon semi. (Hey – know your target audience.)
But at its heart is a clever idea – beautifully executed. And that’s why it has proved so successful. It entertains, and people can relate to it. Almost everybody knows someone who laments how their life has changed since giving birth.

Not only that, the idea has ‘legs’. I’m sure staff at Fiat’s PR agency are currently run off their feet taking calls and making merry with all the coverage that’s been generated.
And there must surely be a competition of some sort waiting in the wings – Young mums, send in your Rap lyrics to win a new Fiat 500L…

The possibilities, while not quite endless, are many.

But the strange thing is, what’s really interesting about this story is not the cleverness of the lyrics, or the small budget. Not even the amount of hits on YouTube.
It’s something that is of no interest to consumers. But should be of huge interest to the media industry: This film was not created by an ad agency, but by a Content agency – Rubber Republic.

Why is that a big deal? The answer’s simple. Money.
In 2010 the total advertising budget for the automotive sector was £546,923,614.
The Fiat Group accounted for £28,338,463 of that very fat juicy pie. A pie that is, by and large, consumed by the UK’s advertising industry.

If Content agencies (and smart PR agencies) can show that they have the ideas and approach that can exploit the social media landscape (media costs are where the money goes) then they will leave the big ad agencies trailing in their wake.
I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that more Automotive Marketing Directors are getting calls from Content & PR agencies. And possibly even, the other way around.

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