Home » The Spike Lee Commercial For The Electric Fiat 500e Is My Everything

The Spike Lee Commercial For The Electric Fiat 500e Is My Everything

Spike Lee
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Spike Lee does commercials. This isn’t a big surprise. I did not expect him to do a commercial for the electric Fiat 500e with Giancarlo Esposito, but he did, and it’s kinda fantastic. It also reveals a hidden irony about the film Do The Right Thing I didn’t realize until just now.

It makes a sort of sense that Lee should focus on the Fiat 500e as the car itself, much like its predecessor, has to be sold on something more than just performance. It offers about 149 miles of range and costs about $34k, which isn’t particularly competitive. What it does do, however, is look great.

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This is a good fit for Lee as Lee co-starred with Micheal Jordan in a series of commercials for Nike’s Air Jordans. Specifically, Lee was playing his character Mars Blackmon from his film “She’s Gotta Have It” and it’s great:

Lee sold the shoes not just as performance, but as art and fashion, which is something that didn’t exist before Air Jordans. As Shoe Palace put it:

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The commercials featuring Mars adopted much of the style and look of She’s Gotta Have It. Obviously they featured one of its main characters, but those adverts were also filmed in black and white like the film. The tone, aesthetic and feel of those ads was movie quality and that high level of production added to the value of the Air Jordan line.

It’s probably overstating it a bit to say that Spike Lee made the concept of sneakers as fashion a thing, but the Lee commercials are so connected to the legacy of Air Jordans that it’s hard to argue it didn’t help.

Thus, this new ad for Fiat:

The concept here is pretty straightforward: Esposito is Italian and is selling the idea of Italian things being stylish and great. I wouldn’t normally write about a new ad, but this has a few things going for it. First, the hilarious photos that accompany it:

Ginacarlo Esposito Fiat 500

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Giancarlo Esposito looks like he’s doing a bit. I’m not sure what this bit even is, but it’s amusing to me.

Spike Lee Fiat

They look photoshopped in and, again, this is hilarious.

Spike Lee 2

Lol.

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Ok, but here’s why it’s sort of worth writing about.

Spike Lee has used Esposito in numerous roles, but I’d argue most famously as Buggin’ Out in the film Do The Right Thing. I don’t wanna spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it (you should see it), but the dramatic action of the film starts with this exchange between Danny Aiello’s Sal and Esposito’s Buggin’ Out:

Essentially, as a pizza shop in a black neighborhood with basically no Italian customers, Buggin’ Out is requesting some representation for black individuals on the wall of Sal’s pizza restaurant, which is covered only with photos of Italian Americans like Robert DeNiro and Frank Sinatra.

At the beginning of the commercial Spike Lee seems surprised that Esposito is driving a Fiat, leading to this exchange:

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Spike:  You’re driving a Fiat now?!?

Esposito: It’s electric… and you know I have to rep Italia.

Spike: If I’d known that I’d have never cast you as Buggin’ Out.

Esposito: MOOKIE!

Esposito is a great actor and if you haven’t seen him in any of the million or so great films he’s been in, you’ve at least probably seen him in Breaking Bad. But even as famous as he is, I never assumed he was Italian. But he is! According to the Washington Posthis father was an Italian stagehand and carpenter from Naples and his mother was a classically trained opera singer from Alabama. It turns out that Aiello’s family is actually from Naples as well.

This means that the whole movie is premised on a scene where two Neopolitan guys argue about Italian over-representation. As Lee points out in this new ad, that’s a little funny.

And to bring it full circle: Mars Blackmon of Nike commercial fame is apparently the son of Mookie from Do The Right Thing.

Ok, one more photo:

Slee Giancarloesposito

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Sunset2PCH
Sunset2PCH
27 days ago

The chemistry on set was fantastic between these two and it shows. In my years of producing commercials with Spike, this was one of my favorite. Now to see Autopian reporting on it – achievement unlocked!

Sunset2PCH
Sunset2PCH
24 days ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

it’s really a tie between this article, which I’m printing out and taping to my wall, and DT moving to my home town and buying a matching i3 to mine…

Last edited 24 days ago by Sunset2PCH
Musicman27
Musicman27
26 days ago
Reply to  Sunset2PCH

We have stumbled upon a legend of unspoken value.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
26 days ago
Reply to  Sunset2PCH

WOW that is awesome 😀

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
26 days ago

I hope these cars have some modicum of reliability and sell well. They look great and fit a lot of people’s needs especially as a second commute car. These commercials certainly have me rooting for them more.

Musicman27
Musicman27
26 days ago

Ok, that was a good ad. The movie part is the most relatable part lol.

Last edited 26 days ago by Musicman27
Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
26 days ago

I saw one of these on a dealer lot this week and my first thought was that it must be a used car. I guess not….

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
26 days ago

Sal’s pizza restaurant? This thing looks like the official delivery vehicle for Freddie Fazbear’s Pizzaria.

CTSVmkeLS6
CTSVmkeLS6
27 days ago

I discovered some weird kit car that looks like it’s based on an AMC spirit from the 70s… Not sure how I can give one of these folks the pictures so someone like Jason Torchinski can help figure out what it is… There’s actually two strange kit cars I feel they would make a good article. Help!

CTSVmkeLS6
CTSVmkeLS6
27 days ago
Reply to  CTSVmkeLS6

Although I’m an elder millennial, I don’t have a Facebook or Instagram or else I would’ve tried that!!!

CTSVmkeLS6
CTSVmkeLS6
27 days ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

Excellent I will send those off later today. Thank you for the quick reply.!

Steve P
Steve P
27 days ago

What, they didn’t want Radio Raheem asking what kind of batteries it takes?

Mike Dris
Mike Dris
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve P

D mother trucker! D! Learn to speak English first, all right?

MrLM002
MrLM002
27 days ago

If it didn’t have those stupid electric door handles I would have bought 3 of them.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
27 days ago

Sorry, for me, putting Spike Lee in your commercials is a huge disincentive to getting my attention. He’s just too New York. I will say that he makes that baby Fiat look like it’s on the same scale as a Rolls Royce.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
27 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I just can’t with him right now either. I did get to see his heart pulled out last night by Tyrese Maxey, so that helps.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
26 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

To be fair, NYC is one of the few markets where this car actually has a chance of selling, despite you know, the whole issue of charging and all that.

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
27 days ago

Hope anyone who hasn’t watched Do The Right Thing takes up on Matt’s suggestion, it’s a true masterpiece.

Zach Hull
Zach Hull
25 days ago

Couldn’t agree more.

Dan S
Dan S
27 days ago

I love it -This is exactly who they should be marketing EVs to – rich old folks who want to look good and park easily.

My MIL lives in Florida by herself will never drive more than 100 miles in a day and hates pumping gas.

Has a golf cart to get around her housing development.

This would be perfect for her.

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