Slogan Doctor: Fiat 500: 'You are, we car'

For the launch of its new retro-styled 500 last year, Fiat introduced a striking slogan: four monosyllables, a comma and a rhyme.

by John Morrish
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

It was devised by an agency called 515 Creative Shop in Turin, and is used, in English, across Europe. But what does it mean? The verb 'to be' normally requires a predicate: 'you are Italian', say. Standing alone, it becomes an existential statement: you just 'are', in some kind of undefined, unrestricted way. According to Fiat, 'you are' expresses its customers' individuality. As for the second half, it's an anthimeria, the turning of one part of speech into another. There is no verb 'to car', but there is no reason why there shouldn't be: we all use the verb 'to phone', for instance. For Fiat, 'we car' is an economical way of saying 'cars are what we do'. So, you get on with being you, Fiat will get on with making cars. The comma and the rhyme tie the two together: annoying but strangely memorable. An alternative explanation, that 'we car' is a pun on 'wee car', can probably be discounted.

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