*The product placement trend that has invaded movies and television shows has now hit commercials.
In what is sure to be a growing trend, Fiat has tapped Sean “Diddy” Combs to plug its new four-door Fiat 500L, but mandatory in the deal was the inclusion of his own products in the spot – his cable channel Revolt TV and his performance water Aquahydrate (a venture he has with Mark Wahlberg).
Fiat agreed to the terms, and came up with an ad concept to make it all work. Titled “Mirage,” [watch below] it opens with two guys stumbling through the dessert, thirsty and delirious. When two 500L Fiats full of girls roll up — with Diddy riding shotgun and Pharrell’s “Happy” on the sound system — and Diddy offers them a bottle of Aquahydrate, the guys dismiss the whole thing as a mirage. Later, when they reach an oasis in full party mode with a big banner that says “Revolt” and Diddy again greets them with water (“Happy” continues to play in the background), they still think it’s all a mirage, because as everybody knows, Fiat only makes two-door cars.
The spot, to premiere on TV Feb. 13, is an example of what Chrysler chief marketing officer Olivier Francois calls the “triangulation of brands,” reports Billboard.
“Fiat could never write a check for an appearance from Diddy,” Francois said during a presentation in Midem. “But we are able to offer something instead. The connection. The exposure. The triangulation of brands. Is it product placement? Of course it is. It’s Diddy’s products in our ad. But it makes as much sense as water in the desert. And in return, we get something unique. Him.”
Francois later told Billboard that Fiat had licensed the rights to “Happy” for use in the spot worldwide. “It’s a global partnership,” he said, adding that the Fiat spot will help propel the track to even greater popularity around the world.
“Happy,” of course, already has notable traction. It’s featured on the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack album and is also nominated for an Academy Award. The song currently stands at No. 8 on the Hot 100.
Francois heard the track early on in the process, when Williams invited him to the studio to listen to new material for possible collaborations down the line. “There was one song that stuck in my head: ‘Happy,’” Francois said at Midem. “That song and the Fiat brand were a match made in heaven.”
Francois, who says he looks for stars to align when he sets out to do his campaigns (which include the famous “Imported from Detroit” spot for the Chrysler 200, featuring Eminem) found the perfect partner in Diddy and the launch of his product. “Music is the connector between us, the artist and another story,” Francois said.
Diddy’s ad follows Fiat’s 2011 commercials featuring his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez (including a music video-like spot where she performs her single “Papi”) and its 2013 campaign with Pitbull and Arianna singing “Sexy People.”