Fiat 500 – Case Study

19 Feb

Brand: FIAT
Campaign: Fiat 500 re-launch
Markets: Italy and UK focus (Europe)
Dates: July 2007 – January 2008

Fiat 500 is one of the most iconic cars in the world whose last production series was during 1975. In 2007, on the steps of the new BMW Mini and the VW New Beetle, FIAT decided to re-introduce the small city-car into the market. Because the 500 belongs to the Italian cultural heritage, the car deserved and needed a bold and memorable come back – not only in the Italian automotive industry but on a global level

How does Fiat re-introduce an iconic city-car into the market, in a really innovative way, into a highly competitive market category (Mini, NewBeetle, Smart…)

The product is mainly targeted to young-at-heart professionals and city-car drivers with a spirit of fun and adventure. Taking into consideration that this audience is very active online, the brand wanted to create something where both online and offline media techniques would play an important role together, involving the target audience right from the start.

The Idea
Months before the car launch, FIAT introduced the slogan ‘Fiat 500 wants you’ where everyone was directly invited to be part of this ‘new iconic movement’.
To try and nurture a meaningful relationship with potential consumers the whole product launch was in people’s hands.
The audience was asked to

  • Help with the design / 500 days before the launch (yup that’s more than a year) FIAT invited potential buyers to submit ideas to a website on what accessories they would have liked to see in the new Fiat 500
  • Submit ideas for the advertising launch campaign / Art Students and the general public were asked to submit ideas online for the advertising campaign with two final ideas to be chosen as the official billboards for the product launch.
  • Create the official Fiat500 mascot and Logo / They could download an online brief where FIAT was asking to submit designs for an official Mascot to truly represent the new Fiat500


  • During the UK launch party at the BA London Eye, visitors were asked to jump into a Fiat 500 and customize their own models for the chance to win the new car and other prizes – sponsored by MSN. The entries were showcased online and the head of exhibitions at the London Design Museum got to choose the final winners

  • During the Italian launch, the audience was using touch screen technologies to create their own models to then have a chance to see it displayed in 3D using a new high-tech holographic innovation. Customers were also able to print their customized models and buy the car straight away at the party.
  • Last but not least, to attract new families they launched a competition in Italy aimed at pregnant mums. To win the new car, mums had to enter the competition if they thought their babies would be born on the same day of the Fiat 500 launch

The Outcome

  • 70,000 cars sold in Italy in the first month with Fiat500 awarded ‘Car of the Year 2008’
  • 8,000 were the accessories’ ideas submitted by the general public. More than 100 accessories are now available to choose from and 500,000 ways to customise your Fiat 500!


  • 3,300 advertising ideas were submitted to the website but only 2 were the winners – One chosen from a professional panel, the other voted by the 500 online community. Both ideas have been succesfully used for ATL and BTL campaigns
  • More than 600 Mascot and 1,000 logos were submitted. The winner was Dante.

  • Nearly 4,000 mums applied from all over the world for the chance to win the Fiat500 – Only one was the lucky mum to receive the Fiat500 Baby Boom edition giving birth exactly on September 15th.  However 50 other mums from all over the world were selected to receive a tailored FIAT mum-gown .
  • In Italy the launch of the 500 was huge, so huge that this iconic Italian car grabbed the headlines of every newspaper and dominated TV motoring shows for so long that conventional advertising buying simply wasn’t needed. More was spent in online media in markets outside the core market than would have ever been considered at home.

The Learnings

  • Keep your audience involved from the start / By creating tangible involvement, you’ll generate real participation and as result strong PR and WOM around a campaign.
  • Stand Out / Be experiential with your creative ideas and don’t be scared by risky PR stunts. Using innovating technology will only get people talking about your brand!
  • Spot the difference! / Adjust your marketing mix to fit the market needs. Even if the offer, the demographic and the brand positioning are consistent across your markets (in this case Europe), look out for the differences in market structures and audience expectations – These can demand totally different approaches.
  • Have something for everyone / Sometimes your target audience may have different clusters. You may find a single proposition which is appealing to each one of them but you may retain a bigger chunk of the pie tailoring your marketing initiatives to different audiences.
  • Keep your communication alive / The official Fiat500 website (500 wants you) is a place where users are always invited to do more and be engaged with the brand. Every so often a new initiative is launched (locally or globally) to always keep the communication fresh with the different clusters of their audience (youngsters, artists, mums, young-professionals…).


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3 responses to “Fiat 500 – Case Study

  1. Lee

    February 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Hi there,

    I think your case study is amazingly good. I am going to have it in my marketing essay and hoping you would be kind enough to let me know where I can go a little bit deeper to get the orginal case. is my e-mail address and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kindest regards,


  2. vinceonthego

    March 1, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Hi Lee

    Thanks for your message, I am glad you enjoyed the case study

    I wrote the case myself based on what I had read and stats I had found online so unfortunately i don’t have much more resources

    If you want to know more about the campaign or if you have any specific questions, drop them in here or email me separately and I’ll see if i can be of any help


  3. JingYi Yuan

    March 24, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Here is an interesting link about the culture, communication, creative! Have a look! You will like it : )


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