We’ve seen some unusual product placement efforts in the past, but Fiat has outdone about all of them with a Fiat 500 not only being chased by a half dozen or so police cars but also show on live television that yes, it’s not a clown car.
California is probably the only place in the world where television news helicopters give live cam-in-the-sky coverage of police chases in action, the ür reality show and still the one with the most reality. It’s a staple of life in LA and wasn’t new in the infamous low speed chase of OJ Simpson’s white Ford Bronco 22 years ago. The world was watching because it was OJ. Los Angeles watching because that’s what Angelinos do.
In this case, a license plate on a black Fiat 500 checked out as a stolen car, and one police car began a chase that became more police. And as the more police cars that joined the chase, the faster the Fiat 500 went. When the Fiat left the freeway, however, the driving became “erratic” with the driver blowing through several red lights. By the time the driver, apparently unfamiliar with the area, got the Fiat cornered in a cul-de-sac, a KCAL-TV news helicopter was in tow.
That’s when the product placement went from merely being the model name being repeated over and over again to one of a demonstration of the car’s capacity.
After the driver was ordered out of the car and followed the standard operating procedure that left her spread-eagle on the ground, and then the passenger from the right front seat was ordered to do the same and complied, all this described in loving detail between the chopper pilot and the news anchor:
Pilot: “This one is over. It looks like she’s decided she realizes it’s game over, and she’s going to do what LAPD are telling her, telling her to back away and I’m sure she will soon be on the ground in handcuffs.”
News anchor: “And there she goes. She’s been ordered to get down to the ground on her knees and on the ground and, ah, eventually probably lie flat on her stomach so that police can come over—there she goes—come over and finish this off by hand cuffing her and taking her into custody. They’ll check the car to see if there’s anyone else in the car, but it looks like at this point, except for a few, am, hair-raising moments, ah, things has ended peacefully.”
Pilot: “No reports of any injuries. [unintelligible] This coming to a peaceful end, this driver involved in what police are saying was a stolen vehicle in South LA coming to an end here in San Pedro outside a home. So as you mentioned the good news is it doesn’t appear that anyone hurt or any serious injuries as a result of this chase.”
At that point the news helicopter pilot and the news anchor thought it was over, but wait, there’s another person coming out of the car! The passenger door has just opened! Being given instructions by the police! And it appears to be another female! And it’s so exciting! She been asked to do what the driver was!
At this point it appears it really is all over.
News anchor: “It’s a small car so I don’t suspect we’ll see any more people popping out of the car. It’s possible maybe one or two but…”
Pilot: “Unless it’s a clown car, I think this will be the only two.”
News anchor: “Two female suspects involved in this chase, one the driver, one the passenger, ah…”
Pilot: “Whoa! There is three, look at that!”
Male news anchor: “Wait there is someone else coming out of the car.
Pilot: “Yeah, yeah, a third person here! Indeed.”
News anchor: “I was not aware that car could take that many people.” (laughs)
Male news anchor: “This is a Fiat!”
Pilot: “You have a pretty tiny back seat, but yeah, let’s see if this turns into a clown car situation.”
And the video ends.
So is this product placement, the takeaway that indeed a Fiat 500 can be involved in a car chase? Or is it that a Fiat 500 has more room inside than anyone in the TV news department thought? Or whether the Fiat 500 is/is not a clown car?
Or is it that people in Los Angeles really have too much time on their hands if they’re going to watch a car chase as it happens of a Fiat 500 with one, no two, no three people getting out? Now that’s entertainment!