As part of a new multimillion-dollar endorsement deal with Fiat, Jennifer Lopez has shot several TV commercials for the Italian automaker, placed the Fiat 500 in her latest music video, and even put the vehicle center stage during her performance Sunday night at the American Music Awards. But while the brand building and cross-promotion campaign is both lucrative and far-reaching, the star does have her collaborative limits. Specifically, the 42-year-old actress will not visit the Bronx in service of shilling the subcompact car.
While Lopez, Fiat, the automotive firm’s PR people, and its Detroit ad agency would have consumers believe that the star deigned to return home to film a low-speed pilgrimage through the gritty streets of her hometown, she actually never set foot in the Bronx during the filming of the Fiat spots.
Instead, the role of “Jenny from the Block” was played by a body double, according to two sources familiar with the commercial production. While the Lopez lookalike was actually behind the wheel in the Bronx, Lopez herself was in Los Angeles, where she was filmed inside a Fiat 500.
The shots of the actress were artfully merged to make it appear that she was tooling around New York City’s poorest borough. Big Block, a Los Angeles digital production studio, was hired to merge live action footage with computer-generated imagery to make it appear as if Lopez was in the Bronx.
The ruse tricked scores of media outlets--from The Wall Street Journal to automotive blogs--who reported that a centerpiece of the Lopez/Fiat partnership was the production of a 60-second commercial titled “My World,” which Fiat began running last month on network and cable TV outlets.
The commercial shows Lopez “driving a Fiat 500 Cabrio as she travels through the streets of Manhattan to the Bronx where she grew up,” according to a Fiat press release heralding the TV spot. The commercial, produced by Doner, a Michigan-based ad agency, purportedly “explores her personal take on how life in the New York City borough continues to inspire her to be tougher, to stay sharper and to think faster.” Fiat boss Olivier Francois also joins the artifice, claiming, “We watch as she leaves Manhattan and makes her way back to the Bronx, where she grew up and continues to be inspired by.”
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