The Truth—and Translation—Behind the Fiat 500 Super Bowl Ad

Did you see the Super Bowl ad for the Fiat 500 Abarth last night… that was completely in Italian? The commercial—and its central character, a gorgeous, Italian-speaking woman—was one of the bigget hits of Super Bowl Sunday. Just ask the water coolers!

The racy ad made a splash in more ways than one, notably that it was nearly entirely in Italian (without any subtitles at all). Wondering what you missed? Walks of Italy breaks down the language barrier… and points out some surprising facts about the commercial and its sexy protagonist!

After the generic urban professional is shell-shocked at the sight of a gorgeous woman fixing her stiletto heel, she turns and says:

Line 1: “Che cosa guardi, eh?” (repeated twice… followed by a slap!)

Translation: “What are you looking at, huh?”

Line 2: “Mi stai spogliando con gli occhi?”

Translation: “Are you undressing me with your eyes?”

Line 3: “Non puoi farne a meno, poverino?”

Translation: “You can’t help it, poor baby?”

Line 4: “Ti batte il cuore? Ti gira la testa?”

Translation: “Is your heart beating? Is your head spinning?”

Line 5: “Sei perso pensando che saro’ tua per sempre?”

Translation: “Are you lost thinking that I’ll be yours forever?”

The ad finishes with the tagline, “The Fiat 500 Abarth. You’ll never forget the first time you see one.” The identification of the sexy Italian car with a sexy Italian woman is complete.  But there’s one issue…

The actress isn’t Italian!

The bombshell is named Catrinel Menghia and she’s Romanian. Catrinel was discovered in Bucharest, moved to Milan, is the the face of Armani, and is married to an Italian ex-footballer.

A few more fun factoids:

The scorpion tattoo on the back of her neck? It’s the Abarth logo.

A vintage Fiat 500 in Verona, Italy

The Fiat 500, which was the Italian peoples’ city car from 1957-1975, is as synonymous with Italy as the Volkswagen Beetle is with Germany. And we mean a city car—it was only 9 feet long! Fiat rebooted the car for its 50th anniversary in 2007; today, it’s a top seller throughout Italy.

Carlo Abarth, an Austrian-Italian car-maker, collaborated with Fiat to build the iconic 1952 Abarth 1500 Biposto, a 2-seater. (Gorgeous!). A descendent of the storied Fiat franchise, the Abarth is a much faster, “jacked-up” version of the standard model.

Fiat began acquiring Chrysler shares in 2009 and is now the majority owner. This acquisition has made U.S. distribution possible—hence the Superbowl ad.

Fiat stands for “Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino”: Italian Automobile Factory of Turin.

So there you go. Do you think the ad will boost Fiat sales in the US? Do you like the car? The ad? Will you buy one? Do you already own one? Let us know what you think!

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13 Responses to The Truth—and Translation—Behind the Fiat 500 Super Bowl Ad

  1. Sonny Girard February 7, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    Wish the car looked half as good as Catrinel.

    • SANDIE SIMONE March 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

      It does look as good as the model … it’s beautiful and it is so much fun to drive.

  2. Ric February 19, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    The Biposto was not Abarth’s only effort. Over the years there have been Abarth tuned high performance models of many different cars, primarily Fiats, but also the occasional Simca and even Porsches and Ferraris. Abarth are also famed for their high performance exhaust systems for many vehicles.

  3. Mark March 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    I had an Abarth 750 based on the 600. It was bored out, had headers and a cam. It was fun and unreliable. The engine in this is so overly complex I wouldn’t trust it.

  4. Tom July 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Any true sportscar enthusiast knows Fiat stands for: Fix It Again Tony!

    • Duke February 9, 2014 at 12:16 am #

      HA ! Tom, .I never get tired of hearing that . That makes number 12,436 …..How original

  5. Joe Goodhouse February 3, 2013 at 1:14 am #

    I love the model! She speaks perfect Italian and so I thought she was Italian. I think it’s a very clever and effective ad. But whether it will have an impact on sales, that I do not know.

  6. Jimbo99 January 6, 2014 at 2:23 am #

    First glimpse of Catrinel I ever saw was actually in the calendar photos of Peroni Beer in 2008, she was November 2008:

    http://www.ewallpapers.eu/w_show/peroni-november-calendar-1920-1080-2732.jpg
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-k9hjPHPFoM0/T1JU5I1ZxTI/AAAAAAAAE1w/euW5aMZCN6k/s1600/catrinel-menghia-peroni1.jpg
    http://www.calendarioperoni.com/calendario.html

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