Fiat: Great Concept, Shit Advert

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.