Some critics found entertainer Jennifer Lopez's first TV spot for the Fiat 500 to be a tired collection of musical and advertising clichés. Others asked why Fiat was running the music video/commercial, seemingly aimed straight at women, on football telecasts. The naysayers wondered whether the Fiat brand and J.Lo were even a good fit, saying the spot reminded them of another rocky advertising marriage -- to singer Celine Dion -- from Chrysler's bad old days.
Critics be damned. The initial J.Lo spot appears to be doing its job rather well, thank you. Consideration for the Fiat 500 subcompact has jumped 31 percent since the J.Lo spot hit the airwaves Sept. 12 during ESPN's "Monday Night Football," according to an analysis by Edmunds.com.
The biggest single spike in consideration came on Sept. 18 when it shot up 95 percent as Fiat aired the J.Lo spot on a number of National Football League telecasts, according to the Edmunds data. The 30-second spot is a combination commercial for Fiat and promotional video for a Lopez single, "Papi."
Olivier Francois, global chief creative officer for Fiat and Chrysler, defended the decision to place J.Lo on football games in a recent interview with Advertising Age, a sibling publication of Automotive News: "America is aware that there is a car. We needed that kind of spark."
Some unexpected factors explain the jump. More women than ever are tuning into football these days, according to The Nielsen Co.
The commercial's initial success is good news for Fiat, which has experienced several hiccups in its efforts to relaunch in America. The latest was a parting of the ways with its ad agency Impatto Custom Marketing of suburban Detroit. That agency had nothing to do with the J.Lo spot.
Whether J.Lo and Fiat will make beautiful music together in the long run remains to be seen. It's one thing to increase consideration and another to induce people to get out their checkbooks and buy cars.
Meanwhile, those who can't stomach the J.Lo commercial had better keep their thumbs close to the mute button on their remotes. More J.Lo spots are in the works. She will be featured in commercials promoting a special Gucci edition of the car, due in dealerships early next year.