Fiat takes Americans to the drive-in movies as the 500 gets its big launch

The Italian company sets out this week to make its mark in North America with the iconic FIat 500, one of the world's most famous small cars

Created by Michigan-based Impatto, the campaign "emphasises image over product features". Dealers didn't all fall in love with this approach when it was tried on a Chrysler sibling, so it remains to be seen how it goes for the Fiat 500.

The first is entitled "Drive-In." And one quirky idea is to let Americans watch vintage drive-in movies while sitting in the car.

The first marketing goal was reacquainting Americans with the iconic Fiat company , said Laura Soave, head of Fiat Brand, North America .

The campaign themed "Simply more," has, says AdAge, "the bold, edgy stamp of Olivier Francois," named CEO of Fiat only last week.

The Drive-in commercial is a nostalgic trip intended to convey Fiat's heritage. A couple head for a drive-in movie. The man chivalrously opens his date's car door.

They watch a black- and-white film, accompanied by Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock," - the No. 1 song in 1957, the year Fiat made its debut.

Fiat will be hosting "urban driving experiences" in five cities this autumn. People will be able to sit in the Fiat 500 while watching vintage movies playing on a large screen. The first event is set for this month in New York's Times Square.

Fiat will lean heavily on social media in the US , including Facebook and Twitter, a key strategy "when the brand starts to build and grow in a new country," said Ms. Soave.

Fiat has 200,000 Facebook fans and 13,000 active Twitter followers, more than the Mini, Smart and Scion. It has an iPad app, too, Fiat Source. Ms. Soave said that future ads will highlight the value that the car offers, stressing specific features. Sample lines in print ads: "Bigger isn't better. It's just harder to park"; and "On a scale from 1 to 10 it's a 500."

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