Tag Archives: engagement

Fiat 500 – Case Study

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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The Digital Mainstream Needs Engaging Interaction

shapeimage_3-4Try to open your Facebook account and look at the number of applications you have installed on your profile. Some Facebook aficionados may have an average number of 50 applications sitting within their pages, often causing some visitors’ computers to crash. Now, try and write down the amount of them you actually use on a daily basis. I suspect the majority of you might have a number from 0 to 5.

Due to my young age, unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to personally experience how every other media has gone through the same process in the past, but time has arrived for our beloved ‘Digital space’ to become as mainstream as the rest.

However, as Lord David Putnam says, there is nothing wrong with being mainstream!

It is all about understanding this environment, taking advantage of the interesting elements surrounding the digital space and creating values for our ideas, developing extraordinary user experiences online.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee once said: “In 1989 one of the main objectives of the Internet was to be a space for sharing information. It seemed evident that it should be a space in which anyone could be creative, to which anyone could contribute”.

Now, in 2008, we still watch TV, we listen to the radio, we read our magazines and, hungry or not, we are constantly ‘fed’ by advertising messages wherever we are. However, we have widgets, blogs, applications and forums where people are being creative, actively interacting with each other, making friends joining communities and sharing interesting information.

The great thing about ‘digital’ was the imminent and satisfying interaction element that came with it and, now more than ever, this is seen as a compulsory element to create successful and valuable ideas.

We cannot listen to a Radio show and talk back to the DJ, if not using email and TXTs; we cannot go through a pile of Marketing magazines to find that great quote by Steve Jobs, but we can use Google to find it and also read what other people think about it. Also, after watching an episode of Skins on Channel4 we cannot get all the fans together to talk about what just happened, however with Facebook not only we can now create such thing but also we can record reactions, evaluate comments, measure interaction and consequently create value for branded initiatives.

So many opportunities have recently risen for brands to take advantage of this Digital space but, always more often, many of them do not seem to get it right, creating a cluttered arena of branded content with not enough thinking behind it.

Very frequently, agencies do seem to have the perfect answer to the toughest brief – be this an outstanding creative idea which can impress ‘the’ client or be this a media strategy employing the ‘coolest’ sites – whatever this is, deploying interaction should always be considered as simply essential if entering the digital space and trying connecting with the right audience.

However, this is not always taken into account…

Digital online advertising was the big revolution when for the first time through a standard ad format brands would measure response and behave accordingly.

This is obviously still happening and, especially with improvements in creative formats and tracking facilities, 21% of the total marketing expenditure online still sits within display advertising.

Although many brands still believe in the power of these formats, with the digital space turning mainstream, they should make themselves fully aware that our audience is bored of being bombarded by advertising messages within an online environment as well.

This is exactly where what I call an ‘Engaging Interaction’ is required

Whenever the interactive element is considered, more than often this is under-estimated!

It is rather simple to generate creative ideas involving an interactive game, an interactive micro-site or an interactive Facebook application, however brands seem to be struggling in considering the ‘engagement’ element when developing such things.

What is the value of an interactive branded game if I am not engaged enough to go back and play with it? The same thing can be said about millions of application on Facebook or on any other social network.

I could make an example here with the Coke Tags Widget.

This widget was developed for users to include their favourite things of all time into a widget branded by Coca Cola to then post on their blogs and social media profiles.

Users would populate this widget and every element would be linked to the correspondent content i.e.. their favourite YouTube videos would click-through to the actual content, their favourite fashion brands listed would click through their official websites and so on…

This is the perfect example of an application which would sits there on your profile without allowing any engagement. What about showing me if other friends love the same fashion brands or are into REM? What about asking me to update the tag for the chance to be connected with more users with the same interests? Or what about including a competition for the best rated Tag owner to win a related price?

It is rather evident that Coke was simply looking for a widget that would sit there on my personal space and be forgotten after a day or two…. I personally created one and never used it again!

This is where many brands are simply making a huge mistake.

Wanting to be part of the Social Media environment and connect with a specific or a mainstream audience does NOT involve creating interactive dull experiences. Users needs to be engaged, they often await for or expect any kind of reward, they want to feel part of the brand through engaging user experiences which ask you to come back for more.

People do and will always talk about things that got them glued to the screen –  and we all know how powerful WOM can be….

I have 89 applications downloaded on my personal Facebook page.

How many do I actually use?


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Posted by on November 15, 2008 in Thought Piece


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Social Obama


I can’t stop talking about how much I’ve been appreciating the efforts by the Social Team behind Elect President Obama. From campaigning through to victory, the team behind the ‘big man’ has been able to take advantage of every single communication tool available out there to connect with the devoted audience.

Social Media has never been as mainstream as today, and of course the elections, where conmmunication is key to both parties, were going to be tested on this area. Well…Obama’s online presence has definitely set a benchmark!

picture-24The initial website includes all the right elements a space like this should be including when exposed to social media, with all the tools smoothly linked together from one place to the other. Also, because of the variety of cultures involved in this event, they were smart enough not only to tackle the mainstream biggest players in the Social Networking area (Facebook, Flickr and alike), but also more niche networks like AsianAve, Mi Gente and BlackPlanet

After the victory on November 4th, I’ve been thinking about the future of such activities: “Are they still going to be highly involved in Social Media? Will they be asking to share information and thoughts and involve the citizens in shaping this ‘change’?

My questions were quickly answered this weekend when I was made aware of the new site launched by Obama’s Web Team called The website is a communication platform; it’s the website where Americans will be able to track/monitor this well expected ‘change’… This includes the political agenda, all you want to know about the Elect US President and Co., a blog with all the latest news and…TA Daaaaaaa… Social Media:image0012

Through the ‘American Moment’ Obama is asking Americans to share their stories around the Elections. The message is very straight forward and truly inspiring  – “The story of this campaign is your story. It is about the great things we can do together when we come together around a common purpose”

I like this a lot and I am very much looking forward to see how Obama is going to bring this content to life

Another interesting site is the one found by Kris today which evolves around the journey to the Inauguration Day in January 2009. A bunch of supporters has launched a site especially for offering people an affordable chance to go to Washington DC for the event – very impressed by the IA!

Now I guess it’s time to end this praise about OBAMA’s great work, he made it and hopefully he will now make a difference! Let’s just wait and see…


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Posted by on November 10, 2008 in Social Media


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That’s So Gay…!

How many times we’ve heard people, and not only teenagers, mentioning “That is so Gay” referring to something bad, of little taste, something wrong or not ideal?

Gone are the days when the word gay was used to describe something simply joyous… :O(

Well, the campaign ThinkB4YouSpeak ( was born to tackle such the issue of teens using such expression in a negative way through the use of endorsements from Hilary Duff, Wanda Sykes and others in attempt to let them know it’s not a good thing to say.

Print ads attack the faggot and dyke and other elements of the campaign take on queer, cougar, tranny, lesbos, dick, geek, nuts, cherry and more.

Part of the campaign urges people to create their own videos on the topic and you can get involved following this link

The website also gives loads of educating material for parents and school teachers to educate their children and pupils on the delicate subject

Also, if students register at they can download loads of informations and tools to start their own pledge

Get involved!


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Posted by on October 30, 2008 in advertising, Social Media


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