Someone, who shall remain nameless, had this to say on the new Fiat Punto advert:
Why name three better cars in your own advert?
All joking aside, it would have been funnier to have 'the Fiesta we prefer' as this one, no?
Here are some other possibilities:
This is the Ibiza we prefer - people mashed off their heads on ecstasy pipes
This is the A1 we prefer - shots of reps driving on the Northern motorway near Scotch Corner
This is the jazz we prefer - generic jazz wigout
This is the colt we prefer - handgun fired repeatedly into side of beef
This is the cleo (bear with me) we prefer - any hilarious scene from Carry On Cleo (that's enough superminis now - Ed)
Fiat is off to the States as we speak, trying to sell small cars to people who aren't happy unless their SUV comes with a dead penguin strapped to the bull bars. Small cars don't have a good track record in the US as all the roads are about 8,000 miles long and about as wide, meaning our little European hatches, taut of handling and tiny of interior, are a tad out of their comfort zones.
Clearly Fiat thought it needed a boost trying to overcome decades of superchargers, Hemis and literally drinking petrol, so it's enlisted Jennifer Lopez (youngsters may know her as J-Lo) to drive the Fiat 500C and sing about her Papi, whatever that means.
What follows is a baffling collision of a song that seems entirely unsuitable for the sitation; namely a load of zombies trying to eat La Lopez, flinging themselves on her bonnet and chasing her car through a deserted city's streets. But, in the end, she gives up and joins them for a dance.
It's straight out of the 'throw enough money' school of advertising - and it seems to have gone down really badly on this side of the pond, as adverts clearly catering for an American audiences tend to. That's a bit of a shame, as Fiat's small cars are excellent, particularly the 500 and 500C.
Of course, this isn't the first time Fiat has
inflicted launched a duff celebrity tie-in. Over the past couple of years Fiat UK has enlisted the help of Angela Griffin and James Morrison to aid their car launches.
Here's Fiat UK MD looking extremely cool with the also-extremely-cool Morrison:
“...an intimate concert from a big star like James Morrison demonstrated how determined we are to promote our products like we have never done before.”
Indeed. Perhaps there's a reason for that. And, with any luck, he'd add "and never will again".
As it goes this ad, which played during the 2002 World Cup, isn't that bad.
Francesco Totti finds himself playing footie, alone, in his back garden – rounding imaginary opponents before slotting the ball into what appears to be a child's goal.
Now, depending on where in Europe you lived at the time Totti in his live commentary references Christian Vieri or Michael Ballack on his way to scoring. This becomes important later. What will also become apparent is who Il Capitano tackles in the UK version.
His imaginary game of footie over, Totti leaps into his Fiat Stilo – an appalling car light years away from Fiat's current small-car range – and zooms off down the road.
Stopping at some lights, Totti notices a message on the Stilo's multimedia screen. Why, it's Vieri (or Ballack) taunting Totti by revealing that he was offside all along in his fictitious soccer match.
All of which is quite smart and fairly well-executed, if you ignore the obvious absurdities inherent in it.
What tipped this over the edge was the UK version. Who had Fiat signed up for this amusing battle of Europe? David Beckham perhaps? Or Michael Owen? Moving down the food chain a little, but still a big name, perhaps it was Big David Seaman?
Nope. Not even close. Not even Paul Scholes. The man lined up by Fiat to represent Engand in this ad – against Totti, Vieri and Ballack – was Emile Heskey.
Now, the much-maligned Heskey has his strengths in my book. His unselfish style, physical attributes and hold-up play to name three.
But did Totti even know who Emile Heskey was? Is it that likely that the two would swap matey footballing banter via text message? Is that why Heskey felt the need to sign off with a cheery 'Emile Heskey' – an unlikely way to end a text to a mate I'd have thought.
There are more questions than answers, as anyone who watched A Question of Sport in the early 1990s will know.
Perhaps the biggest question of all is whether, even years later, Totti has ever heard of Emile Heskey.
• Sadly history does not record the Heskey version. I couldn't find it anywhere
Wouldn't it be great to replicate a three-minute video screen on a computer with real people, a few bits of paper and a trampoline?
The people would bounce up and down with cards on their heads; others would paint in a gradual progress bar across the bottom; tickertape would cascade down from the ceiling, replicating SFX.
It will look amazing, but it's all done in one take without one single special effect. It's a great idea, difficult to pull off, but all the more impressive for it.
In the same way that Honda's Cog would have been utterly pointless if there had been the slightest hint of cheating, any advert employing the trampoline technique using even a squidge of CGI would be a waste of everyone's time.
The technique was originally used by Roel Wouters in a a series of videos for an installation.
Inevitably it was picked up by an ad wonk and reused to shill something. In this case it was the Fiat Grande Punto – a nifty little car that looks like a Maserati, if you work for Fiat's marketing department – under the slogan 'Engineered to Entertain'.
You can probably guess what comes next. The Fiat ad remains remarkably faithful to the original, until about 30 seconds when a Punto is dropped onto the trampoline.
But Fiat actually went to the trouble of dropping a car on the trampoline, which is pretty impressive. So everyone's happy then? Well, not, because the car then proceeds to perform several more bounces, a triple salchow and a back-flip in a big jizz of CGI.
It's utterly stupid, pointless, mystifying and enraging and renders everything that's gone on previously a complete waste of time, all the while thumbing its nose at the original ad. If you're actually going to drop a car on a trampoline why not make that the centrepiece?
Were the creatives behind this stupid, or simply not bothered? It's hard to tell, but instead of being quite cool, this advert is simply shit.