Fiat mounts $41m campaing for Alfa Romeo 156

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MILAN - Fiat Auto has unveiled ambitious launch plans for its new Alfa Romeo model 156, which rolls out to 48 markets later this month. The sporty sedan's launch is backed by a global advertising and promotional budget of $41m that includes television, radio, print, outdoor, direct marketing, telemarketing and an internet site.

According to Fiat Auto's advertising director Vittorio Rava: "The event signals a new direction in Alfa Romeo's approach to communications and marks our decision to reposition the brand as one of the world's superior sporty cars with performance-driven features." In line with the new "Alfa Romeo" initiative, all European dealerships have been renovated and the Turin-based company has set out to develop a closer rapport between the brand and clients.

Created in collaboration with ad agency Conquest under creative director Pietro Maestri and director Dario Piana, the TV ad focuses exclusively on the car to demonstrate its optimal performance in a range of road conditions, using a series of contrasts, like old versus new, hot versus cold.

One scene takes place in Venice as the Alfa Romeo makes its way through a city submerged in ice as two ice skaters dressed in high-tech gear and goggles gape at the car as it meanders over bridges as icicles fall from ancient buildings. The couple in the car appear quite serene. According to Maestri: "We found photos from the winter of 1929 showing the Venetian island of Murano iced over and drew our inspiration from this." The ad was filmed in Venice and reconstructed at the Cinecitta film studio in Rome, using tons of salt to achieve the icy road conditions typical of Northern European countries.

Driving home the car's technological and safety features, the slogan is "Alfa Romeo 156. Its power, your control."

Photographer Michael Rausch shot the five-subject print campaign, which features the car on Utah's Great Salt Lake.

In Italy, the print ad broke on October 15 and the commercial goes on air October 20. The car, which was unveiled to dealers in Lisbon last week, goes on sale October 24. List prices range from $20,408 to $29,738. According to Rava, "We hope to sell 111,000 units during the first year and have high expectations for Japan and Brazil."

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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