About a week ago, at the American Super Bowl, Fiat proposed this ad:
What's wrong in this commercial?
It's sexist or vulgar? Maybe, but no doubt it appears well targeted on men, who should appreciate the double meaning. In addition, the clear ironic connotation of all the storytelling should defuse this possible accusation.
It's based on a stereotype? Perhaps. On the other hand the stereotypes can sometimes help you more easily understand certain situations and groups of people. And in this case, it doesn’t seem to insist on negative stereotypes of Italians (and we would have many of them…).
It is "selling Italy"? Yeah, exactly. This commercial is selling to the world, and in particular to several millions of Americans, the Italian spirit. From medieval architecture to the design of objects, from the scenic beauties to a complex and layered culture, from clothes hanging to cats on the roofs, from the priest in 50s cassock to fountains, conviviality, wine, eating well ... There's even the lady who passes the broom, which does so much Bel Paese and Dolce Vita.
So, all communication underlies the idea of being Italian, the mix of art and pleasures of life that the world envies us (often not knowing how different it is the everyday living in Italy). Until some time ago, there would have been nothing wrong with this. Indeed, the overall result seems to me quite effective, and 13 million views of the video, even considering possible sponsorships on YouTube, seem to confirm this.
But from few months there is a novelty: Fiat is today FCA, a multinational corporation headquartered in London and tax registered in the Netherlands. That is, the Fiat is a foreign multinational, with several production plants in Italy.
Not convinced? Then what about the Volkswagen? They have more than 10 factories in China: this makes them a Chinese manufacturer? No, it is a German manufacturer, because it is Germany based, from taxes to legal activities.
That’s the point: Fiat is selling to the world, for free, our Italian being, but Fiat is no longer Italian. And then: dear Fiat, do you want to pay less tax? Okay, go ahead. But then pay us royalties on the Italian brand, given that you like it so much. Or, get back head and heart here. You will pay a little more in taxes, but you will also have the added values that you yourself acknowledge, to the point of making it the heart of your communication.