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Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Fiat Meets Gucci

Two of Italy’s best combine in a new logomobile.

by on Feb.28, 2011

Two Italian legends team up in the Gucci Fiat 500.

Fashionistas, devotees and logo lovers of style, elegance and panache can now rejoice: the most famous fashion logo in the world, Gucci’s double G, is now an official part of Italian automotive heritage, history and haute couture.

Ciao e benvenuto to the ‘500 by Gucci’! Bellisimo.

The international fashion press went ga-ga last week during the Milan Fashion Week when  Gucci’s Creative Director Frida Giannini introduced the new Gucci edition 500 during the packed Gucci fashion show in Milan. She stated, “In the 50s, the Fiat 500 created a style revolution when it first hit the road. It quickly became the must-have car of its time. Travelling in style has also been at the heart of Gucci ever since Guccio Gucci founded his company as a producer of leather trunks, suitcases and handbags in 1921.”  (Click Here for a video clip of an interview with Frida Giannini.)

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In fact the introduction of the 500 by Gucci is more than the usual auto brand and designer licensing deal (remember the Bill Blass Lincoln?) paying a six or seven percent royalty. It is a celebration of Italy’s 150th anniversary as a nation and the founding of Gucci 90 years ago. Gucci and Fiat, arguably are the two best known Italian brand names in the world.

Bravo for Gucii’s Runway Deal

Gucci designer Frida Giannini.

The auto industry premieres of new cars are filled with lots of flashing strobes, ungodly loud music, artificial smoke, huge video screens all followed by stiff speeches and sheet metal revealed by pulling off a piece of cloth or the driving on to the stage of the new car. Tens of thousands of dollars have been expended but usually these are rather staid and stiff.

For reveals of anything with panache, flamboyance, flair and élan one must look to the fashion industry. And nobody does it better than the Italians. How does the world’s best known brand for expensive fashions and accessories introduce a vehicle of modest price?  Simply and elegantly. The product, obviously the 500 by Gucci, speaks metaphorically for itself, first in a short video followed by the car’s appearance on runway. Result? Hurrahs, applause and cheers of the hundreds of jaded fashion journalists from around the world.  (Click Here for the video preview they saw before the car.)

Fiat by Gucci: The New Benchmark for Brand Personalization

Gucci’s biggest assets are its interlocking double ‘G’ logo, the red and green colors associated with the brand name – and a premium price.  The Fiat 500’s best assets are the defining shape and the modest price. Combining these two is a B-school case study in an oxymoronic relationship.  But it has been done well, very well indeed.

Importantly only two colors are available, white and black with the signature green-red-green Gucci stripe going round the car above the belt line. The double G is in the center of each wheel cover while the B-post uses the Gucci script logo.

The two exterior colors are also used inside the vehicle where other  Gucci touches include:

  • Seats and seat belts;
  • B-pillar exterior in Gucci script
  • B-pillar interior in Gucci script

The Gucci Fiat 500 is offered in two stylish colors: black and white.

Double G logos are also included on the gear shift and carpet and there are a few special 500 by Gucci accessories for logo lovers.

This week during the Geneva Motor Show Fiat will introduce the 500 by Gucci to the automotive press of the world in a special area of the company’s display. Additionally the special 500 will be displayed in Paris, London and Tokyo. StartiApril 1, 2011 thru June 30, 2011 the vehicle can be ordered from www.gucci.com with a list price starting at €17,000 ($23,450 at $1.38 to the Euro).

Fiat’s director of public relations in the US, Ariel Gavilán told me in a phone conversation the 500 by Gucci will not be in the US till sometime late this year … would appear to be gifting time, hmmm. Let me think, Merry Christmas in Italian is Boun Natale.

(For a review of the Fiat 500, Click Here.)

How’s Gucci’s business. Booming, thank you.

According to reports from Reuters, the French luxury and retail group PPR which owns the Gucci Group posted a forecast-beating current operating profit for 2010, boosted by a recovery in the luxury market. The group’s luxury division Gucci Group enjoyed the strongest growth with a 14.4 percent rise in comparable sales.  The company posted a full-year current operating profit of 1.531 billion Euros ($2.07 billion), above expectations of 1.487 billion based on a Reuters poll. It proposed a dividend of 3.5 Euros a share, marking a 6.1 percent increase against the previous year. PPR did not give a precise target for 2011 aside from improving sales and profits against the previous year.

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