Vroom to move

Fiat put coin into pix in effort to rev up brand

ROME — Fiat, Italy’s largest automaker, today in Cannes will announce plans to invest in European and international film production to spruce up its brand image.

Fiat’s move into movies as a promotional tool comes just as Italy is poised to reintroduce product placement in the local film industry, following a decades-long ban due to its being considered a deceptive form of advertising.

“Cars have long played key roles in movies. Think of the Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider in ‘The Graduate,’ or the Minis in ‘The Italian Job,’ ” Fiat chief of marketing Lapo Elkann told Variety.

Elkann, the nephew of the late Italian auto magnate Gianni Agnelli and his designated successor, said high-profile pics such as the James Bond franchise would be ideal for Fiat. However, he also is interested in midrange budget projects by young European directors, such as local box office heavyweight Gabriele Muccino (“The Last Kiss”), who has shot some Fiat commercials.

“Though we are going for different types of demographics, Fiat certainly needs to boost its image with youth consumers,” Elkann said.

The 26-year-old Fiat marketing topper was mum about how much coin the car manufacturer intends to allocate for film, but said said movies and musicvideos would play a key role in Fiat’s renewed marketing drive. U.S. pubbery Hill & Knowlton will act as the automaker’s main liaison with the international film community.

Elkann will announce Fiat’s first foray into films at a confab on product placement at the Italian pavilion.

The confab is sponsored by state film entity Cinecitta Holding whose general director, Alessandro Usai, was on the team that drafted Italy’s product placement rules, now in the final stages of parliamentary approval.

“The law will be very deregulated. There will be practically no limitations, except for no cigarettes, no alcohol and no pornography,” Usai said.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety