What’s Wrong with Millennial Advertising: An AP Review

Sep 9, 2014  |  By Accepted Protege  |  

Via Adweek, AdAge, Fiat’s “Endless Fun” Campaign, and a some-what-critical Accepted Protégé

“What is happening? I don’t understand..why?”

These are the words of my younger 18 year old brother while watching one of Fiat’s newest ‘Endless Fun’ TV commercial spots. These are probably not the words Fiat was hoping for when they launched a campaign targeting millennial culture to re-infuse “stylish,” “flirtatious,” and “fun” into their brand. Some of you may be familiar with the commercials: short TV spots filled with brightly colored Fiat cars and clips of random gifs that include everything from actors in horse masks to cat memes, robot explosions, and a bunny-suited man “twerking” against a car. The commercials consist entirely of gifs juxtaposed together under the campaign of ‘Endless Fun.’ To many, however, it only leads to endless confusion.


Fiat 'Endless Fun'

A still from Fiat’s “Endless Fun” TV Spot via YouTube & Fiat


The problem with the Fiat clips is two-fold. On the one hand, the use of gifs, a now-popular media form gone viral within online communities, is completely lost in translation to non-millennial target markets, such as older audience members who may wonder what the point of the ad is, or what a ‘gif’ is at all. On the other hand, the random use of these gifs taken out of their online context and smashed together in a seemingly irrelevant car commercial has got millennials scratching their heads as well. The problem? Just because gifs are popular within their online culture does not mean they will easily – or successfully – transition to a television advertising spot. Gifs are popular due to their organic user-created nature, their viral tendencies, and often the community context in which they are created online. Why a high-profile automobile company would use random ones with little relevance to the cars they brand is beyond me and most other millennials watching their TV screens.



Comments left by YouTube viewers of Fiat’s ‘Endless Fun’ campaign via YouTube.com


The trend of targeting youth audiences by (attempted) catering to millennial tastes is one I’ve encountered before in previous years. And it hardly ever works. From dub-step themed ads which put the very genre out of style, to tv spots misusing hashtags and the belief that ‘YOLO’ is a serious slogan, more often than not, millennial themed advertising just misses the mark.

So is the use of gifs, online-culture, and targeting of youth audiences a dud strategy? Not necessarily. But from a millennial’s point of view, there’s quite a bit of work to do in order to ‘speak our lingo,’ ‘roll with the in-crowd,’ and reach that success. What’s your take?


Read more at bit.ly/1n9Yjs6

Or check out the TV spots here, as listed in AdAge: bit.ly/1qURDlw

Check out Fiat’s full campaign at http://www.fiatusa.com/en/social/#commercials


 Cover Photo Credit: ShutterStock.com & PlusONE Imagery


Kirstie Chapman

Account Services AP

Mood: Critical



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