Fiat 500’s big bet on Jennifer Lopez backfires and North America boss Laura Soave pays the price

We noted back in September that Fiat in the US was taking a big bet on Jennifer Lopez for the launch of its key town car the Fiat 500 and, predictably enough, it’s failed.

At the time it looked like one of those dreaded cases of the star-struck client and Fiat North America boss Laura Soave (pictured) now has more time to spend with her Lopez CDs as she’s left the company to ‘pursue other interests.’

Fiat (and Chrysler) boss Sergio Marchionne has replaced her with Timothy Kuniskis, formerly marketing chief of both Chrysler and Fiat.

It’s not clear whether or not it was Soave or Kuniski, or indeed Marchionne, who commissioned this new ad from agency The Richard Groups for the more recent launch of the sporty Arbarth version of the 500 but it’s better (although cheerfully trading in Italian stereotypes, the woman looks like a Silvio Berlusconi cabinet minister).

Chrysler’s agency is, of course, the formidable Wieden+Kennedy Portland, producer of Eminem’s ‘Imported from Detroit’ epic for the Chrysler 200.

Fiat 500 probably has Portland programmed into its satnav system already.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.