365 Days To The Launch Of The New Fiat 500

Fiat 500

Fiat 500

This article may be out of date and is for reference only

Tomorrow we will be just 365 away days from the launch of the new Fiat 500, the heir to a model that has become a legend, a true icon of motoring history. The debut of the new model will be a very important event, for which a special communications project has been created; known as “500 wants you”, it is an interactive multimedia platform, created and developed in close collaboration with the Turin offices of the Leo Burnett and Arc advertising agencies.

This revolutionary project uses the Web and extends to other means of communication, with the sole objective of involving the public in the design of what will be the evolution of Italy’s most popular runabout. “500 wants you” is a huge online laboratory, where users can discover the stylistic concept of the new car for themselves, expressing their preferences, proposing ideas and contributing to its creation, in a combined, active manner, for the first time ever. The www.fiat500.com site will collect the contributions and expectations of the public, which will be assessed and possibly used during the development of the product.

The “500 wants you” site includes the “500ology”, the largest online encyclopaedia of stories and pictures dedicated to the 500, written jointly with the users; and the Concept Lab, a virtual room where you can pay at modelling the Fiat concept car, and register your ideas. But, as so often happens on the Internet, the “www.fiat500.com” site is a constantly evolving project, which will continue to incorporate new contents, activities and initiatives, as part of a programme that envisages numerous updates during the 365 days leading up to the launch of the new car, which will gradually be implemented over the coming months. We must underline that the www.fiat500.com site continues to be an unprecedented success with the public, with over 10,000,000 pages seen to date. What is more, over 130,000 ideas for configurations, accessories and customisation for the new model have been collected through the Concept Lab. And over 17 proposals for the homepage have been submitted, as well as 370 “Faces for the 500”, a game inviting people to associate a facial expression with a chosen part of the 500.

Previous initiatives are about to leave the stage to other interesting novelties: the “Designboom” competition has just concluded, and the winning projects and the names of the three winning designers will soon be made public. On the other hand, videomakers have until October 22nd to take part in the “500 take you” competition, submitting their own 90-second videos that give a personal account of the 500, with a touch of irony, optimism and high spirits. And finally, the five finalists of the “500 wants a mascot” competition have been chosen from the over 700 mascots published online, and visitors to the site now have a month to vote for the one they want to become the good luck charm of the new 500.

Today, entertaining new initiatives are being added to the “500 wants you” site. One of these is “Speak 500”, a multimedia archive containing over 50 audio files of how the word “500” is pronounced in as many languages and regional dialects around the world. The site will also grow exponentially, thanks to contributions from users who can take by part sending in the flag of the country or region they come from, and the graphical transcription of the term “500”.

The second initiative is “Jingle Box”, a music player that makes everyone into a musician, trying their hand at composing their own soundtrack for the homepage. Users can access a proper DJ’s console where they can select and mix different musical bases, sound effects and over 70 vocal claims (in Italian and English). The jingles created can be heard immediately, recorded in the site archive, and even downloaded onto their computers as MP3 files (so that it will also be possible for people to transfer their own creations onto their mobile phones or MP3 players).

And finally, tomorrow, “500 Screenmate” will also be available, a program for people to download onto their computers, which warns them with a pop-up every time an event starts or a news item related to the world of the new 500 is released.

These exciting initiatives are open to everyone, in full respect of the philosophy of the “500 wants you” project: “a car created for the people, with the people’s own ideas”.

Published 14 September 2006 Melanie Carter

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