Celebrity Rehab with Charlie Sheen: Is Fiat’s New Commercial a Bust?

Charlie Sheen is in rehab mode.

Not rehab for the scads of drugs he was on. That was tried and failed. Besides, all he had to do was say he was over it, and he was! That’s the magic of tiger blood. He’s now vigorously attempting to resurrect his Hollywood career.

In very few worlds is landing a half-crazy, whacked out B+ Lister as your celebrity endorser actually a step up. But in Fiat’s case, it most certainly is, landing Charlie Sheen to take over for… (arch-nemesis fist shake) Jennifer Lopez.

Jennifer Lopez is awful. In my mind, everything she touches turns to the evil pink sludge running through the sewers of NYC in Ghostbusters 2. Her commercial for Fiat was universally panned and an embarrassment to the company. This blogger called it immediately (pats himself on the back, pulls a muscle doing so). I’d like to think Fiat hired Donald Trump to come in and tell J-Lo that she was fired. I doubt that happened, but it would have been sweet.

Fiat Abarth

Fiat Abarth

Fiat has now retooled their campaign in an effort to boost their image here in the United States. And if there’s anyone who’s good for a company’s image, it’s Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, right?

In their new ad (eerily similar to a scene in Marky Mark’s The Italian Job) Fiat plays off Sheen’s bad-boy image, showing him with an ankle bracelet under house arrest (that’s made up, he’s not Lindsay Lohan).

Rehabbing a brand image with an actor rehabbing his career is a bold strategy. The two will certainly go hand in hand.

If Fiat is able to boost sales with Sheen, it’s proof that his name is still marketable and that will surely land him more jobs in greedy ole’ Hollywoodland.

A Drug Called Sheen

A Drug Called Sheen

If Sheen’s career takes off again with his new show based off the sometimes-mentioned Adam Sandler movie Anger Management, then it makes him a more credible endorser, and Fiat will surely sell more.

However, everything comes crashing to a screeching halt if Sheen goes off on another rant of Chuck Lorre proportions. And that’s always a possibility when you’re on the drug known as Charlie Sheen cause “your face will melt off.”

Only time will tell if this new strategy from Fiat will pay dividends all around, but one thing is certain: having Romanian super-model Catrinel Menghia in the commercials certainly won’t hurt.

Do you agree that it’s a dangerous thing to revamp a brand image with a celebrity like Charlie Sheen? What do you think of the new Fiat commercial? Express your opinions in the comments section — we won’t judge you.

Image credit to McAli333, timmarshall, and exfordy.

Alex Brodsky

Alex is a video specialist and blogger at Quality Logo Products, putting his media background and screenwriting training to good use. When he's not working, he enjoys tinkering with his fantasy sports lineups, engaging in cheeky shenanigans, and cuddling. He must also get all of his caffeine from pop as he can't stand coffee. You can also connect with Alex on Google+.


  1. Jaimie Smith

    LOL basically all i have to say is that i love how you were able to talk more crap about J-Lo in this blog, even though the blog was not even about her.
    You never cease to surprise me, Alex!

    • Alex Brodsky

      I’m pretty sure you can give me ANY topic, and I can find a way to turn it into a j-lo rip. I don’t have many talents, but I’m proud of that one.

  2. amy

    Great post, Alex! Charlie Sheen annoys the crap outta me, so anything that he does I’m not all impressed by. I think it was a risky move for Fiat to hire him, especially since the J-Lo ad was such a flop. He’s proved himself unstable before and I think he’s about due for another rant. Hope Fiat is prepared.

    • Alex Brodsky

      It was certainly a risky move, especially when it’s sort of the company’s hail mary pass. Usually Plan B is a sure thing. I’m not sure how the whole decision to bring him on board was made, but I assume they did some sort of research. Or maybe the President of Fiat is just a huge fan of “Hot Shots Part Duex”

  3. Mandy Kilinskis

    I think Fiat is taking a big gamble on Sheen. If he manages to pull himself together and make a hit on his FX show, then I have a feeling that Fiat did a good job. If he does explode into another crazy-town rant, then I have a feeling that the marketing director over at Fiat will be fired and consequently start reenacting scenes from Platoon with Sheen.

    • Alex Brodsky

      You DON’T want to reenact scenes from ‘Platoon’ with Charlie Sheen

  4. Jeff Porretto

    I personally would not buy anything associated with Charlie Sheen unless I was planning on buying it already. I’m not sure this is the greatest idea on fiat’s part. I don’t get it… was the Super Bowl commercial with the gorgeous Italian model not working for them? So they decided Charlie Frickin Sheen is the answer? Pfft.

    • Alex Brodsky

      Fiat is apparently the one company in the history of the world that can’t figure out the most basic marketing strategy: Sex Sells.

      I can’t say the same about not buying anything associated with Sheen. If I were going to Cleveland for a baseball game, I would probably buy a Ricky Vaughn t-shirt jersey. And yes, they DO sell those. They’re probably a bigger seller than any REAL Indians player.

  5. Rachel

    Can’t say the Fiat commercial is my favorite — though I do think the Direct TV commercial Sheen is in is pretty clever. I think the difference is that in Fiat’s commercial, Charlie Sheen is supposed to look cool; in the Direct TV one, he’s being made fun of (though not mean-spiritedly). Granted, I’ve never been a big fan of Charlie Sheen, so maybe that’s why I prefer one over the other.

    I will agree that Sheen’s Fiat ad is better than JLo’s, though. 🙂 Great post as usual, Alex!

    • Alex Brodsky

      Thanks! Yeah, the DirecTV commercial is certainly more tongue-in-cheek when it comes to Sheen’s involvement, and I definitely prefer that to the glamorizing of his life choices like the Fiat commercial does.

      Something tells me if I were under house arrest, i couldn’t get a house full of people to come over and party.

  6. Bret Bonnet

    Boy does Charlie Sheen look like CRAP!

  7. Cybernetic SAM

    This is kind of unfortunate, lots of people that know charlie sheen say that he was one of the sweetest soft spoken people they had ever met and they aren’t sure why he snapped like this. I am also kind of upset with Fiat! I have always been a fan of the vintage model and always wanted one (dream car!!!). Needless to say, when I found out they were remaking them and releasing them in the US I was excited! However, so much of their advertising campaign is falling short. I think they are trying too hard and going in the wrong direction. They are trying to appeal to the wrong customer base. Not to mention they are turning off the people who would be interested in this type of car, it is very aggravating to me.

    • Alex Brodsky

      You’re 100% correct. They’re going for middle-America. The kind that actually likes “2 1/2 Men”. But that’s the same part of America that is “Built Ford Tough” and are scared off by brands they don’t know.

  8. Jill Tooley

    Fiats are pretty sleek, I’ll say that! If I actually had the cash to blow on such a car, then it wouldn’t make a difference to me whether or not Charlie Sheen was involved. He certainly wouldn’t sway me to buy one, that’s for sure. I have to agree with Sam here — I don’t think Fiat is targeting the best audience for their products. They’d be better off nabbing a high-class spokesperson and playing up the “we’re sophisticated” angle here in the US (seeing as how most of us can’t afford a Fiat to begin with). That could be a lot more effective than getting a crazy drug addict…but maybe I’m totally wrong!

    Funny stuff, Alex! 🙂

    • Alex Brodsky

      It’s true. I don’t know why they didn’t just stick with the campaign they ran during the Super Bowl: Hot model dressed super-classy. That speaks to just about everybody (well, except for straight women, but they’re not allowed to drive are they?*)

      *for the easily offended: that last sentence is completely tongue in cheek.

  9. Jen

    I think Charlie Sheen is hilarious, that being said I don’t think Fiat knows what they’re doing hiring him as a spokes person for their “high class” brand. Charlie Sheen is not sophisticated or classy in the least and I don’t think he will do anything for the Fiat brand, except make it a laughing stock. Unfortunately I think Fiat had a better spokes person with J.Lo, because that type of person is their target buyer- stuck up rich women. Great post Alex!

  10. Eric

    Little Known Fact:

    Billy Joel was actually the stunt driver behind the wheel for the shoot.

    (…too soon?)

  11. mamasan

    As I watched the new Fiat commercial for the first time my thoughts were how I just lost respect for the Fiat brand for thinking Charlie Sheen was a fit. Hell I also lost respect for the supermodel – she owned the previous commerical only to look like Sheen’s latest bimbo in the next. Wrong combo all the way around, for sure.

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