Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. returned to the American Music Awards on Sunday night, building off of its 2014 campaign by partnering with all three major labels — Universal, Sony and Warner — to create custom ads/music videos that aired during the telecast.
FCA Global Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois called the #DriveTheBeat campaign “our tribute to the American music industry, our way to say ‘thank you'” for a thriving partnership that, during the past nearly two years, has resulted in some 3.2 million views of FCA music-related content on YouTube.
“The music industry has been good to us and we’ve been good to it,” Francois tells Billboard. “For us to be associated with this industry and these musicians and their songs, it makes our message incredibly more relevant than, say, a regular commercial of a car running on the road. It’s a better way to send our message and tell our story, for all our brands.”
FCA’s music initiatives have included high-profile Super Bowl ads featuring Eminem and Bob Dylan, while last year’s AMA partnership with Interscope included spots with Eminem (Dodge), Gwen Stefani (Fiat), Fergie (Chrysler), Phillip Phillips (Ram) and Imagine Dragons (Jeep). This year FCA created one spot with each of the labels:
- A special 90-second video for Atlantic artist Charlie Puth‘s “One Call Away” featuring Brett Eldredge, Ty Dolla $ign and Sofia Reyes and a variety of vehicles from FCA brands. The footage will also be featured in longform video for the song on Puth’s video page
- A 60-second Interscope mashup starring Børns, Tory Lanez, Skylar Grey and Pia Mia for the Jeep brand
- And a 30-second spot with RCA’s Pentatonix performing “Sing” for Fiat
“When brand partnerships are done well, they create moments that resonate with customers, excite fans and bring artists to a new audience,” Warner Music Group president of worldwide A&R Mike Caren said in a statement. “Olivier Francois and his team … understand the power that music has to move culture and connect people to products. Together, we’ve produced something innovative and unique that takes both FCA’s brands and Charlie Puth’s amazing song in a while new direction.”
Francois says the partnerships allows FCA a subtle sell for its vehicles by providing funding for video production that the labels and artists can use to their benefit. “We’ve been doing a favor to the music industry. We’ve helped up-and-coming artists,” Francois explains, noting a tie-in with X Ambassadors earlier this year, using the fledgling group’s song “Renegades” in ads to launch its new edition of the Jeep Renegade.
“With regular commercials, you can do 10, 20 million views maybe,” Francois says. “That’s great. But with music you can do incredible, phenomenal numbers, and this is almost free visibility for your brand and for shaping the personal and perception of your brand. It’s the most cost-efficient way to get visibility and relevance at the same time.”
Francois says there was also a determination for this year’s AMA campaign to focus on newer and breaking artists after going with established stars a year ago.
“This year I was more in this mood of partnering with people who are still in need of some push,” he says. “I wanted to pay this tribute to the music industry, so I said, ‘Let’s try to be more useful.’ They probably don’t need me to break a new Eminem or JLo or Gwen Stefani [song]. So I thought it would be cooler and more playful and more gutsy to work with people who are not huge stars yet, who I wasn’t familiar with, but who cares? Maybe a year ago I would have said, ‘No, give me Justin Timberlake instead.’ But this felt like the way for us to go this time. It’s a win-win partnership.”