At Skoda we have spent a lot of time looking at other brands that come with past baggage, so the Fiat Punto campaign is an appropriate initiative to comment on.
Building a “personality” for a small car is important, both as a differentiator and to appeal to women who make up a good proportion of the purchasers.
It is hardly surprising that the launch campaign, highlighting the Punto’s technical features, failed to hit the mark, since nothing can be more of a turn-off to most women.
Building a personality for the Punto was even more pressing for a brand such as Fiat, which had to overcome some of its perceived weaknesses.
The “Spirito di Punto” campaign does this perfectly. It differentiates the marque to a degree from the other small car brands, exploiting the car’s appeal to men as well as women by using couples in the advertising.
This is achieved to best effect in the second commercial called “Navigator” which, unlike the other two advertisements, sees the man more in control (because he is driving).
Airing the ads around programmes that attract couples is a clever way of capitalising on the Punto’s strength as more of a couples’ car than its competitors.
Female independence, particularly evident in the other two executions, is still there in full, but done in a more balanced way than Nissan’s previous “Ask before you borrow it campaign” for the Micra.
The ads are very much real life, every day situations that, above all, are entertaining. The use of humour and the events surrounding it are done to great effect and provoke interest in the brand.
The “Spirito di Punto” theme fits well with “Driven by Passion”, and, critically, exploits the benefits of continuity.
The fact that the campaign broke four years ago demonstrates this. Punto should be congratulated for sticking with it.
The ads portray Italian style, deliver on endorsing product benefits and do sum up the feeling of flair, passion and spontaneity – nowhere more so than the latest “Girl Watching” ad, which has a fabulous use of music to match.
Unlike the Punto’s key competitors from Volkswagen, Renault and Peugeot – which have few negative attributes – the campaign does not and cannot address the fundamental problem of poor durability which Fiat has.
This campaign has done a great job in overcoming the marque’s perceived irrelevance by building a personality for the Punto, largely through television.
Perhaps, in addition, Fiat should be concentrating on other media to get the product durability message across, to address what is still a major deterrent to buying its cars.
Chris Hawken is marketing manager of Skoda UK