What good is an electric car without pure wool seats, gold-dust-infused detailing and precious gems set into the steering wheel?
To promote its first fully electric 500 model, Fiat joined with Italian fashion houses Armani, Bulgari and Cartel to produce three very special automobiles.
These one-of-a-kind cars get the star treatment in sleek, sparkly spots developed by Leo Burnett and production house Movie Magic International. Each special edition revs with life, thanks to stylish lighting, unexpected camera angles and slick mirror effects from director Federico Mazzarisi.
The automaker will auction off those majestic machines to benefit the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which supports environmental awareness and backs projects to protect vulnerable wildlife.
"Although there were no actors in the films, I wanted to make the campaign passionate, emotional and intense—maintaining the DNA of Fiat with the influence of fashion brands," Mazzarisi says.
Next, he takes a jaunty, high-tech drive touting the new mass-produced electric Fiat 500 the rest of us can own:
Below, Fiat Chrysler marketing chief Olivier Francois discusses the electric car launch in detail:
Originally slated to drop at the Geneva International Motor Show, Mazzarisi's films bowed online instead after the event's cancellation amid the COVID-19 outbreak, which has hit Italy especially hard.
"We shot one week before the Italian prime minister announced the lockdown," the director recalls. "Everything was shot in a studio in Torino—we couldn't move the cars from Fiat's headquarters. We had four films with four different setups to build entirely in a studio. It was definitely challenging, but also inspiring to do in that time frame. We decided to use an abstract approach. After that, everything came easily. I knew these fashion icons very well."
With limited time for production, "we had to do as much in-camera as possible," Mazzarisi says. "For the Fiat 500 E film, we used a team of laser designers to create the wall of lasers—which represents the entrance of Fiat into the electric world. This effect was entirely in-camera, without any VFX added in post. To create the laser wall, we had to use two different triangular lasers on the sides of the studio—which created a rectangular door at the center. The technology we had allowed us to choose which colors we wanted on set."
For Bulgari, "we had to shoot with super slow-motion on a Phantom camera in order to capture the gold dust effect that covers the car," he says. "Although for some shots it would have been faster to create that effect in post, we had a great VFX team that allowed me to choose the glitter texture and make the explosions on set with no complications."
During filming, the second unit team worked in a separate studio nearby. "I had to run from one set to the other to fix every shot," Mazzarisi says. "It was very energetic, and I loved how the two cinematographers—Michele Brandstetter and Renato Alfarano—collaborated to create a unique look together. We spoke lots before the shoot in order to create a cinematic look for each film, while giving a sense of consistency across the campaign."
Agency: Leo Burnett, Turin
Executive Creative Director: Francesco Martini
Creative Director: Giuseppe Campisi
Art Director One-Off: Elisabetta Ursino
Art Director Opening Edition: Gaetano Cerrato, Edoardo Bergantin
Production Company: Movie Magic International
Director: Federico Mazzarisi (represented by Great Guns in the U.K. and U.S.)
DP: Michele Brandstetter
Production Designer: Paolo Monzeglio