The Fiat 500 is not a new car. At least, it’s not a new car elsewhere in the world. You can buy one in Vietnam, in fact. But by many estimations, the reborn Cinquecento’s US debut is aimed squarely at MINI in its largest market. The actual threat from Fiat’s throwback-mobile is a discussion for another post. What we have here is the first bit of advertising for Fiat’s foray back onto American soil, and it’s hardly threatening. Frankly, it’s a bit of a mess.

The ad is a string of rather uncompelling clichés that aren’t just implied, but actually spelled out explicitly across the screen in big letters. The production value is kinda there — in as much as it’s at least nice b-roll. Bottom line, it’s a pretty good example of the difference between being cool, and saying that you’re cool. While it couldn’t rightly be said that every single MINI ad has been brilliant, thinking back to how MINI debuted on US shores, I can’t help but chuckle a little bit. For me personally, those early MINI advertising efforts went a long way toward peaking my interest in the car. I doubt any future Fiat 500 owners will look back at this ad and think, “Yeah, that was the moment.”