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My 'hood Is Motherhood: FIAT Gets It

My 'hood Is Motherhood: FIAT Gets It Julie Roehm
It is rare for me to get excited about content, especially video content, from carmakers. I am maybe more critical than most having spent over a dozen years in the industry and therefore having "seen it all". I have been known to criticize auto ads in the past for ignoring the product they are selling, or for "dumbing down" the message. This video could be criticized for doing both, but I think it works.

A former client forwarded me this link. Fiat Introduces A Modern View Of Motherhood. I clicked on this with low expectations and was blown away both by the video and the supporting article. The article's opening paragraph includes this quick summary. "Her “babes” are her two children, her “bitches” are her dogs, and her “hoes”‚ well, it’s just a hose. She’s got the episiotomy scar and the yoghurt-smeared laptop. Her life is a war of attrition against domestic havoc, and her only escape is a book club, which she joined just so she could drink wine. There are only a few shots of the car, and no information at all about what it does, but the message is obvious: if this is your life, then this is your car." Yes.

Now those classically trained marketers would argue that mom's are practical. They buy based on their needs and this small car is short on addressing a lot of those needs. Things like space for strollers, bags, groceries, kids sport equipment, video screens to occupy the kids, and on and on. But what the Fiat lacks in terms of practical accouterments they make up for in emotional connection. And let's face it; moms desperately are in search of people who really get them.

The video taps into nearly every truth about "motherhood" these days. It hits on the less than glamorous nature of being a mom, from the smell of rotten food or worse that gets on your clothes, the waistline that gets lost after and is so hard to find again, the lack of understanding of the real difficulty of this job from the spouse, and the inevitable lack of sleep that follows the induction into this phase of life. While not a message that is uplifting, Fiat puts it into context with a fun, upbeat rap tune that pokes fun while revealing the truth.

In the words of the author of this blog, "Screw “the power of dreams”: the Fiat ad is very much aimed at someone who’d appreciate the power of eight hours’ sleep uninterrupted by a child who needs a wee/a glass of water/reassurance that the Lightning McQueen poster on their wall hasn’t come to life and started giving them funny looks." While most car companies point towards the hoped for buyer's aspirations, Fiat understood that for this target audience, commiserating and celebrating the truth of the "now" is a powerful way to endear you to them.

"But ads aren’t pitched to the utopian future society we might become‚ a future where women don’t embrace a packhorse destiny and a man is allowed to change a nappy without someone organising a chorus line to do a high-kicking routine in praise of his masculine virtue. Ads are designed to sell to us as we are now, with all our flaws and susceptibilities and right now, the Fiat 500L mum is right for us: in her photogenically haggard way, there’s something aspirational to her after all. She might not have it all, but she does it all, and that’s a badge of honour. As the chorus goes, “You’re in the motherhood/And you’re in for good.""And most of us wouldn't have it any other way. Good for you Fiat!

Julie Roehm is SVP Marketing, "Chief Storyteller" at SAP. Formerly, as a Marketing Strategy Consultant she served companies in all industries, of all sizes. Her client list includes, Credit Suisse, Time Inc., BIAP, Acxiom, ad agencies, and...

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