Fiat Chrysler launches 3 youth-targeted ads during American Music Awards

Olivier Francois: 'Every brand has its own playlist'

Fiat had a 30-second spot with a cappella group Pentatonix from Sony Music Group and its song “Sing.”
UPDATED: 11/23/15 9:22 am ET - adds videos

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, in another high-profile advertising move, launched three spots during Sunday night's broadcast of the American Music Awards on ABC.

The spots, ranging from 30 to 90 seconds, targeted a youthful audience.

“The use of music in this campaign gives us the opportunity to connect with millennials through a shared passion,” Olivier Francois, FCA’s global chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “Our strategy to approach each brand like a ‘playlist’ enables us to reach across genres, allowing us to check two of the most important marketing ‘boxes’ -- brand building, giving each voice a distinctive persona and relevance to a targeted audience.”

This was the second consecutive year that FCA has advertised during the American Music Awards.

For its 90-second spot, FCA teamed with singer Charlie Puth of Atlantic Records and his song “One Call Away.”

Singers Sofia Reyes, Brett Eldredge and Ty Dolla $ign made cameos in the commercial, which featured a Fiat 500X, Ram Rebel, Jeep Renegade, Chrysler 200, and Dodge Charger and Challenger in locations across the U.S.

Although tonight was the only time the commercials were scheduled to air on TV, a longer-form video of “One Call Away” will be on Puth’s Vimeo page.

FCA’s second spot, which was 60 seconds, was a collection of young artists from Interscope Records. Skylar Grey, Pia Mia, Tory Lanez and BORNS , dubbed “stars of tomorrow” during the ad, were paired with a Ram 1500, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Charger and Chrysler 200.

Finally, Fiat had a 30-second spot with a cappella group Pentatonix from Sony Music Group and its song “Sing.”

Major moves to come

The spots Sunday night follow a similar approach FCA took for last year's show and come on the heels of a fall campaign linking FCA to the "Hunger Games" movie. Up next is a "Star Wars"-themed campaign that will break in December. An integration with "Zoolander 2" is also in the works.


The Hollywood approach comes from Francois, whose strategy is to give each of the marketer's auto brands a distinct personality by linking them to movies and music.

"Every brand has its own playlist. It has its own sound," he told Advertising Age in an interview." The AMA's, he added, "helps me make each brand different from the next one."

Advertising Age is an affiliate of Automotive News.

Hunger Games, Star Wars

For last year's awards show, Chrysler lined up big-name talent including Eminem and Imagine Dragons for ads -- and the program itself included an onstage appearance of a 1965 Chrysler 300 low-rider during a performance by Fergie.

Francois suggested the automaker purposely focused on up-and-coming stars this year. Most advertisers like to use "very famous music-- something that everyone knows," he said. But FCA tries to be "more confident [and] more gutsy" with its song choices, he added.

FCA also eschews so-called "tier 2" ads that a lot of automakers typically run at the end of the year that make more rational pitches including on price incentives.

On the airwaves, "everyone is screaming for a price," Francois told Advertising Age. FCA could take that approach, he said, but would have to outspend competitors to get noticed. So the automaker instead has sought to gain relevance by linking to big end-of-year entertainment properties, including "Hunger Games" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

The Star Wars campaign will launch in December, he said. While cars don't play a role in those two movies, FCA has another deal with "Zoolander 2" -- which is set for a February release -- that includes a more traditional product placement. Ben Stiller's character will drive a Fiat, Francois said.

FCA partners with the "biggest blockbusters of the moment because they are relevant in this moment," he said. "If I can integrate in a harmonious way -- in a smart way -- with their message, it's a pure win win," he added.


"I borrow some relevance from them," he said. "And for them clearly it's about giving them more visibility and incremental access to media." 

Music video views featuring FCA products on YouTube have reached 3 billion, the company said.

FCA’s U.S. sales were up 15 percent in October, its 67th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

Advertising Age contributed to this report.


You can reach E.J. Schultz at eschultz@adage.com

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