FIAT Taps Doner, Richards Group to Promote Alfa Romeo

By Patrick Coffee 


If there’s one thing North America needs to make it through a painful mid-life crisis, it’s an Italian sports car.

Alfa Romeo — the classic Milanese racing brand owned by the FIAT Chrysler Group — recently announced plans to “re-colonize America” with its new 4C Spider model. For the record, the soft launch came in 2014 via the slightly less sexy hardtop 4C coupe; the company sold “a total of 91 of them” during the holiday season.


Here’s the Spider:

In January, FIAT announced plans to sell “400 or so of the hand-built, lightweight, midengine coupes with removable tops” across North America later this year. The move marks a refresh for “a brand that hasn’t been available in the United States since before the O.J. Simpson murder trial” (nice work there, Automotive News).

…which brings us to our point. The company will need agency assistance in promoting these super-exclusive models, and today we learned that FIAT has chosen two shops for the assignment: Doner and The Richards Group.

From the official statement:

“…both Doner and The Richards Group have been engaged by Alfa Romeo’s marketing team for existing creative assets including print (dealer materials, etc.) and videos on the brand’s social channels.

For the work that is currently being tasked for the brand…CMO Olivier Francois…has utilized [Doner and Richards] at this time.”

A contact close to the matter told us that as many as six agencies pitched the work, but FIAT clarifies that the company did not release any formal RFP and chose to work only with members of its existing roster.

This decision is very much in keeping with the client’s creative strategy outlined in a recent post on the Jeep account, which currently lacks an AOR after ending its relationship with Global Hue:

“Olivier Francois and his team are currently working in partnership with the company’s dedicated roster of agencies on behalf of all brand advertising and marketing initiatives.”

Like Chobani, FIAT seems to view the AOR role (and general agency assignments) with a bit more flexibility than clients past. As noted in the previous story, Richards created this year’s Super Bowl ads for both Jeep and FIAT while Doner made 2014’s “Mirage” campaign featuring Diddy. (Wieden + Kennedy remains AOR for Chrysler proper, and its most recent work for the client involved Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite toy, Oculus Rift.)

Alfa Romeo is almost certainly not big enough to demand nationwide TV campaigns, but we expect to see related work from both Doner and Richards in the months to come.

In the meantime, the car also looks pretty good from behind:

alfa romeo butt