Pressing the press

It is when you hear such phrases as 'manage complexity with simplicity' that you start to doubt reality. More than 1,000 journalists from 58 countries were crammed into a sports stadium in Barcelona to hear about Fiat's new car.

'I didn't know they still did car launches like this,' said a colleague in disbelief.

The event offered plenty of opportunity to be deafened by loud music and for misunderstandings through the simultaneous translations, but little else. Ninety percent of the content was interchangeable with any other product.

The logistics of such an operation are formidable. A week before, the airport had been closed for eight hours during a storm, and flights were diverted halfway across Europe. Imagine that on the day of the press launch. Many there wished for something similar to happen to them as the presentation dragged.

'Focus on customers, not competition,' boomed the succession of senior suits. The new media are suspicious: The higher the noise, the more we suspect the product is an empty vessel. Fiat's Stilo is not one. It deserved a more rational debut.

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