Are we "abroad" yet?

A Global Marketing Blog – Because "abroad" is a place that doesn't exist.

Italian brands going global

Fiat and Vespa expand globally with different levels of “Italianess”

Vespa has just launched a new global campaign, ‘Do You Vespa’. The ads are well executed and memorable. One of the elements that caught my attention, though, is that Vespa is choosing not to leverage its Italian heritage in the TV ads. Instead, the brand is going for a more widespread appeal. It’s promoting a lifestyle, showing people who ride the Vespa as confident, hip and fun. And who doesn’t want to be that? The campaign was created by BBH India and will also air in Italy, with a message that’s relevant even to consumers who might be not interested or familiar with the brand’s history.

Another iconic Italian brand, Fiat, used a different approach. In 2012, the company launched its Fiat 500 in the United States with a series of TV ads. Its “Immigrants” TV campaign shows cars diving into the ocean, making their way from Italy to the USA. While emphasizing the brand’s Italian origin, the ads also show how the cars fit right in with American lifestyles, driving around New Your City to the sound of Pit Bull.

“Immigrants” Fiat 500 USA TV Commercial

In 2014, Fiat has moved to a more universal tone and message. Out are the Italian picturesque settings and music. The story takes place in a desert, to the sound of “Happy” by Pharrel. And they have P. Diddy.

FIAT USA – Mirage – New FIAT 500L TV commercial ft. Sean “Diddy” Combs

Which way works best to a brand expanding overseas?

Both approaches can work very well, taking into account the different moments in each brand’s lifecycle, and the overall perception of the county of origin in the new market.  I talked about the provenance factor here, a very relevant topic to this discussion.  I also wrote about Havanainas in a previous post. It’s a true success story of a local brand expanding globally.



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