question of the day: Is it fair to be upset that Jennifer Lopez’s new Fiat ad was not shot in the Bronx?

Have you seen the new Fiat ad featuring Jennifer Lopez that’s airing on American TV? Have a look:

Jennifer Lopez has made a motif throughout her career of her connection with her hometown Bronx neighborhood, and she invokes it again in this ad:

Here, this is my world. This place inspires me…

One minor problem: J. Lo never set foot in the Bronx to shoot this ad. A body double was use on the Bronx shoot; Lopez’s closeups were shot in Los Angeles.

Tonya Garcia at PRNewser:

“And how does Fiat fit with her brand anyway? It seems like a bad match from the start. Two sad, tired brands past their prime that need publicity desperately. Yawn,” PRNewser contributor Celeste Altus says. Very true Celeste. On top of that, it means the ad is a big, fat lie.

The fakery is not only in the way the ad portrays something that Lopez isn’t doing. The voice-over of the ad talks up how much of an inspiration this neighborhood is for J. Lo; how much she gains from her association with the ‘hood. But she doesn’t even pay a visit to film her commercial? It’s not even her in the commercial.

She may not realize it, but Lopez is doing damage to her credibility each time she talks up this nonsense about her deep and unending ties to the Bronx. She’s from New York, but, at this point, she’s as much boogie-down Bx as Chef Boyardee is fine Italian cooking. There’s a link, but that’s as far as it goes.

Business Insider has a roundup of the negative reaction to the ad, from both fans and the industry.

Is it fair to be upset that Jennifer Lopez’s new Fiat ad was not shot in the Bronx?

We don’t expect that movies and TV shows are shot where they are set, that’s fiction. Advertising works on at least the veneer of truth and plausibility: we’re supposed to accept that we’re being given factual information about a product or service, even though most of us understand that usually what we’re told is at best an exaggeration, and often an outright falsehood. Is the real issue here that this ad strips away the polite fiction that ads tell the truth? Is this disclaimer:

Jennifer Lopez Fiat television ad

Dramatization. Closed course.

enough to absolve the ad’s deception? Or is everybody complaining about this ad overreacting?

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