Fiat USA is leveraging Jennifer Lopez and her ever-expanding brand reach to support the continued launch of the Fiat 500. Compete investigated the extent to which the Fiat / J-Lo partnership has the potential to be mutually beneficial.
How’s Fiat Doing?
The Jennifer Lopez ads for Fiat launched in earnest in September. Results for Fiat’s US site through August suggest her primary job will be maintaining momentum rather than building it. Fiatusa.com had close to 400,000 unique visitors (UVs) in August—it’s highest ever and still showing tremendous month-over-month gains. Since June, Fiat UVs have bettered Miniusa’s (the US site of another global vehicle darling, re-launched here years ago). And Mini now offers several models, while the 500 is Fiat’s only model.
Tracking Down Digital Jennifer
Jennifer Lopez is a family of brands that leverages her successes across music, movies, and television, and it is applied across several product categories. Her diversity of brand presence makes a simple quantification of her digital impact somewhat complex. For example, search referrals for “Jennifer Lopez” are quite a bit different than for “J-Lo.” Results for J-Lo, referred to as a “lifestyle brand” supporting clothing and fragrances, includes referrals for online clothing retailer zappos.com. Results for “Jennifer Lopez” do not.
In contrast, referral results for “Fiat” are far more focused: the strongest results are for Fiat’s US site fiatusa.com. Fiat.com is the international site for the brand.
The Road Ahead
Given Fiat and Jennifer Lopez each seem to be on a roll today, it will be valuable to see which brand benefits the most from their new partnership long term. Ideally both benefit to some degree. Ideas on how to validate include the following, though these techniques could be used for any set of brands that partner:
- Create an online behavioral category, which we might call “J-Lons,” that together represents the aggregate Jennifer Lopez online presence across the internet . If successful for Fiat, the traffic overlap of J-Lons sites/pages and Fiatusa.com would increase. Specifically, traffic would flow from J-Lons to Fiatusa.com, and those visitors would engage with Fiat site content—and ultimately buy a Fiat.
- Because no one really buys a new vehicle online, purchase influence could be validated by comparing the demographics and behavioralographics of J-Lon people with those of Fiat buyers before and after the current ad campaign. More alignment would suggest success.
- Other validation could include an increase in search referrals of “Jennifer Lopez” and “J-Lo” to fiatusa.com, perhaps with a visit to youtube.com in-between (look for Jennifer, see her drive a Fiat, go to Fiatusa.)
- Jennifer Lopez:
- If successful, one would expect increased traffic to J-Lon sections/pages of the sites and stores tied to her other affiliated brands (zappos, Kohls, Gucci, L’Oreal, etc.) from Fiatusa.com.
- To measure extended reach, one might create a new “Fiat” behavioral category and measure flow across the two categories.
- Further proof would be rich engagement with those J-Lon sites/pages that ultimately lead to online or offline purchases.
- Ultimate success might be fees paid to Jennifer Inc. for the right to use her name on a J-Lo branded version of the 500. Stop chuckling—there’s already a 500 Gucci edition.
 Behavioral categories are collection of sites or parts of sites that together represent related behavior, such as interest in sports, travel, or Jennifer Lopez. Unique visitors across a given category represent total online interest while avoiding double-counting of people that visited more than one site in the category).
Lincoln Merrihew is the Senior Vice President of Transportation at Millward Brown Digital. At Millward Brown Digital, Lincoln is responsible for steering the Transportation Team, which encompasses the automotive and travel practices. Before Lincoln joined the Millward Brown Digital team, he worked at TNS Custom leading the Automotive team, and then continued on there to lead business development for 10 different industry verticals. Lincoln's career aspiration is to create game-changing solutions and insights. Connect with Lincoln on LinkedIn.