J.Lo’s shameless, strange and sad Fiat fiasco
Product placement. It used to be a fairly subtle art. Snapple bottles in Jerry’s kitchen, Marty McFly’s futuristic Nikes, E.T.’s trail of Reese’s Pieces… But now that we’ve gotten used to seeing brand names in the bakgrounds of our favorite movies, shows and video games, marketers have to find new, heavier-handed ways to inject brands into our entertainment.
Case in point: Jennifer Lopez’s live Fiat plug during Sunday night’s American Music Awards. In the middle of JLO’s medley performance, a Fiat 500 appeared on stage, and the singer/actress hopped in to reenact her strange new commercial, complete with pseudo green screen for full fake-driving effect.
And then the backlash began.
The Roots’ Questlove and singer John Legend, who were apparently live-tweeting from the Nokia Theatre, were the first to chime in:
@questlove that had to be the most shameless thing i’ve ever seen in a performance.i was genuinely shocked.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) November 21, 2011
David Eckstein notes on MSN’s Music News that the backlash is expected. But what’s surprising is “just how high-profile the people are who are ripping her.”
But can this stunt be called shameless if the parties involved are so close to rock bottom?
AgencySpy’s Kiran Aditham describes the performance as a new high for product placement but a new low for Lopez:
Sure, she may have set a precedent, but she destroyed what little integrity she had left (if she did have any left, that is) in just a few seconds.
Jonathan Welsh, in WSJ’s Driver’s Seat Blog, says it’s may not be worth exploring the depth of Lopez’s shamelessness:
People are likely to debate for some time whether the high-profile plug for Fiat crossed a line or broke an unwritten rule in the music business. But it may be a moot point for Fiat, which is having a difficult time re-entering the U.S. market after being unavailable here for decades.
Watch the whole bizarre performance here (The Fiat stuff starts around 1:15):