TURIN -- Aiming to win female buyers for its slow selling Idea small minivan, Fiat hired American actor George Clooney for an ad campaign that will appear on television and in newspapers across Europe.
Clooney, who often spends time at his house in Laglio, on Lake Como in the Italian Alps, has a passion for all things Italian, from food and wine to fashion.
In the 30-second TV commercial, a young woman drives an orange Idea along Lake Como's twisting roads. She stops at a villa, gets out of the car, opens the passenger door and walks away.
Intrigued by the open door, a passing jogger -- played by Clooney -- gets into the car and is so impressed by its features that he lies back and rests. The woman reappears, locks the car's doors by remote control and traps Clooney inside.
The woman, played by New York actress Dara Tamanovich, then drives off with a triumphant smile and with Clooney still inside.
The ad's closing phrase is "George not included."
Roberto Zuccato, Fiat Auto's communication and institutional relations head, said Fiat wanted to highlight the attractiveness of the Idea's styling and standard equipment, and show that "no one can resist its charm."
The commercial was directed by Argentinean director Pucho Mentasti, who lives and works in Los Angeles, and has won top awards at the Cannes Advertising Festival in France.
Leo Burnett Worldwide created the commercial. Launched in Italy last month, it will be broadcast in other European countries this autumn.
Fiat was one of the first European automakers to use movie actors for television advertising.
Catherine Deneuve starred in the ad campaign for the first-generation Lancia Delta in September 1979. In the last five years, Fiat has used Harrison Ford to promote its Lancia Lybra and Catherine Zeta-Jones to advertise the Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon.