TURIN - Fiat Auto's future advertising will be less Italian and more international, says Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz, the company's new sales and marketing head.
'We are proud of the excitement of Italian design,' says Diaz Ruiz. 'This is part of Fiat's heritage. But we need to establish universal values not related to nationality.
'We should speak in a language that connects with consumers anywhere in the world,' he says.
The $2.2 million advertising campaign for Fiat's second-generation Palio world car shows the way forward, said Diaz Ruiz.
Conceived by worldwide agency Leo Burnett in collaboration with Fiat offices in Milan and Sao Paulo, Brazil, the humorous campaign is based on the slogan, 'It's time to reconsider your concepts.'
Illustrating the point, one print advertisement for the Palio shows a hefty wrestler with a little poodle.
In the past, Fiat advertising has concentrated on 'solid and serious' engineering virtues, said Diaz Ruiz. Consumers are now responding more to 'imagination and emotion,' he said.
'Of course, Fiat needs to demonstrate its engineering origins,' said Diaz Ruiz. 'But the world of marketing is not moving in that direction. In more and more markets we are changing the way in which we speak about ourselves to our customers.'
Diaz Ruiz said he wants Fiat to become more aware of how consumers think for themselves.
'Our advertising in Europe will also become pan-regional,' he said. 'We are living in a global world, but we must execute locally to give a clear message to consumers.'
Diaz Ruiz said Fiat is working closely on a 'glocal' approach - meaning both global and local.
'This principle is being extended into engineering, of course,' he said. 'We are taking a platform and adapting it to different markets, using local suppliers.
'In engineering, as in communications, you need a flexible response - and this is `glocal'.'
Diaz Ruiz moved to Fiat from Toyota Motor Europe on September 1. He joined Toyota as sales and marketing boss in 1998 and quickly pushed sales in Europe past Nissan for the first time. He performed similar feats at Audi and Seat earlier in his career.
'We have a lot of basic work to do at Fiat,' said Diaz-Ruiz. 'The world is changing fast, and consumer expectations are changing just as quickly. We start from zero every day.'