For me, the biggest surprise of the 2017 Super Bowl was not the remarkable fourth quarter comeback by New England Patriots. Although unexpected, I was more surprised to see repeat, big-bucks advertising and lead-ins for Alfa Romeo—a vehicle only popular overseas, especially in Italy.
Most Americans probably don’t know this brand of car because they are extremely uncommon in the states today—merely 516 new cars were sold in the US last year.
The brand was acquired by Fiat Group—another Italian car manufacturer—in 1986, and the US was brought into the picture in 2009 when Chrysler filed for bankruptcy during our “Great Recession.” Fiat gradually acquired shares to take majority ownership of the company around the same time.
Strategy and Results
Ever since that takeover, we have seen an influx of Fiat automobiles in the US. Before that, they were almost completely absent. Sound familiar? Fiat Chrysler (FCA) is now on offense and pushing sales of their other super-Euro car in the US; they chose to kick-off this endeavor with America’s #1 marketing megaphone (Super Bowl LI).
So far their strategy seems to be working. Cars.com ties their biggest post-game traffic spike to Alfa Romeo with a registered 7,320% increase in traffic to Alfa Romeo pages on the website. Especially significant is the fact there were lots of car brands advertised during the game, and the average lift of viewership to other auto brands’ pages was a much less significant 7%.
See below for the three Alfa Romeo ads that helped put this brand in the American spotlight. Pay close attention because my bet is that you will start seeing these cars much more frequently in the next few years.
— Lee Sumner, Sr. Research Manager