Tonight, the Smart Fortwo will finally hit primetime. The tiny city car came to the U.S. market in 2008, but it was never advertised on TV. Early on, the car didn't need any help to move units: for the first year-and-a-half on the market, an average of 1,916 Fortwos were sold per month. After that, well...

To counter declining sales, Mercedes-Benz USA took over sales and marketing for the brand from the Penske Automotive Group this past July 1. This change lead the team to decide that TV advertising needed to happen, Smart general manager Tracey Matura told AutoblogGreen today.

The first spot, called "Unbig" is being broadcast on a bunch of shows, including Dancing with the Stars, Jimmy Kimmel Live (which will actually be one of the show's live ads), NCIS, Grey's Anatomy, Whitney and Fringe, but you can watch it right now after the jump. It drives home a very simple point: when everyone is talking big, the Smart Fortwo is small. Matura said the message is for people to rethink what they need from transportation. "It's not about large being bad, it's about big not always being necessary," she said. "The Smart is the right car from its inception to delivery in your driveway."

Part of the low sales problem, Matura said, is that many Americans have absolutely no concept what the Smart car even is. According to something called an avoider study from J.D. Power, 50 percent of people surveyed were completely unaware of the Smart brand, while an average number for an automotive brand is around 18 percent. The quickest way to bring that up, she said, is thorugh traditional television advertisements.

There are three different versions of "Unbig," each highlighting either the overall brand, the MSRP or lease terms at the end of the spot. The all-electric Fortwo is not in the commercial, and it also won't be in the second ad, which is coming in mid-October.



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  • 30 Comments
      • 5 Months Ago
      Oh yeah, the Honda Hybrid gets better gas mileage, what a laugh. Believe me I owned one and the battery wouldn't hold a charge in Texas weather. Without that battery assist, it was unsafe and the best mileage is about 35mpg! Honda could not fix it, nor would they admit that they had a problem with the battery in hot weather. They bought it back from me at bluebook price, and I bought a smart. I absolutely love it. 42 mpg, and think the transmission is great. It is what it is, small, fun, and economical.
      Dallas May
      • 5 Months Ago
      I don't think that television is the right medium for this message. I just don't think there are that many people sitting on their butts watching TV that are wanting to Un-Car.
        BipDBo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Dallas May
        Nobuddy sittin on dair butts watchin da tube? You aint fom round here, is Ya?
      • 5 Months Ago
      Cool ad good thing its now on tv
      John R
      • 5 Months Ago
      Good advertising concept. "Un-big". It's a real shame though, that the car doesn't live up to its potential, from what I've heard.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @John R
        40+mpg.... plenty of room.... decent acceleration with excellent handling... how doesn't it live up?
      Spec
      • 5 Months Ago
      I think a lot of people would be interested in a small cheap economical car. The problem is that the Smart is just not economical . . . the MPG sucked. So why get a small car when you can get larger ones with the same MPG?
        Chris M
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        The Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Honda Insight all get better fuel economy than the Smart, and all have more room inside. And none have the troublesome transmission of the (not so) Smart.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        People purchased in 2008 as they thought they were getting economy with the Smart. Word travels fast the it is not economical on gas and has a craptastic tranny. Jalo is advertising the Fiat 500 now and it says nothing about small or economical, hopefully it is.
          • 5 Months Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          .... "thought"? i'm AVERAGING 40mpg or more. Most cars are lucky to get that going downhill with a tailwind. And the naysayers talking about the transmission being "craptastic" are looking at it as if it were an automatic transmission.... which it's not. When you look at it like a manual transmission, which is what it basically is, just without a driver-operated clutch.... it's just fine. As for the Fiat..... not a bad car... but just about the only thing i can say i liked about it is that the seats are extremely soft. Other than that... not a whole lot of good things. About the same headroom and legroom with the seat up a bit on the models with the sunroof. With the seat all the way back, yea, you get more leg room, but headroom goes right out the window. interior molded radio head unit.... so possibilities of swapping it out for an in-dash nav unit or even just something better than stock is impossible. Plus, they're more expensive than the Smart, weigh around 25-30% more than the Smart, aren't rated to get as high a fuel mileage as the Smart, and barely has more power than the Smart.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        ..... because.... you can either pay $12,000 for 40+ MPG for a city car that's also fantastic for driving just about everywhere else..... or you can pay $20,000+ for a 40+ MPG sedan that's fantastic for driving and has a bit more room... but sucks in the city?
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 5 Months Ago
      not sure 'uncar' will win the hearts and minds of americans.. it may confuse them momentarily while they are drinking their brawndo though
        Spec
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        I'll give you credit for making the Idiocracy reference. But remember . . . it was just a cautionary tale written & directed by an American. A Texan even.
      Erik Goossens
      • 5 Months Ago
      Too bad the guy driving it looks hunched over - it makes it look like it's cramped in there. I've driven one, and it's spacious inside!
      Ford Future
      • 5 Months Ago
      $159 for a 24 month lease: Tell Me More!
        fairfireman21
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Ford Future
        $159 you have the wrong price. They are selling them for about $22K with a battery lease of $80 per month in the Uk. That comes out to be more than $500 per month for the both.
          fairfireman21
          • 5 Months Ago
          @fairfireman21
          Why would anyonewant to spend @150 per month for a Smart? The thing gets bad mileage for it's size, can only haul 2 people and a purse, and is very expensive to get worked on. For one the Aveo's middle range mileage is 35 mpg the Smarts is 37 mpg. The Smart is also more expensive by a little over $500, but it is also half the car. With less room for comfort.
          • 5 Months Ago
          @fairfireman21
          if he has the wrong price, you have the wrong car. The Smart here in the US sells for around $12,000-$17,000 depending on which model you get. The electric model isn't available for sale yet, and so far is only on a limited lease program, which is WAY more than $159/mo to lease. This ad is talking about the ones that are available... the gasoline engine models.
      • 5 Months Ago
      As i said in another comment... the only issue with the transmission is those looking at it who've either never driven a car with a manual transmission, or are looking at the transmission as if it's an automatic... which it's not. As soon as you think of it as a manual transmission, everything starts to make sense.
      madbikes
      • 5 Months Ago
      I think the Toyota iQ is the better car than the Smart
        • 5 Months Ago
        @madbikes
        ... and there are probably reasons why it never made it to the US. Price was probably one.... pretty much unusable rear seats.....
      Marco Polo
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm not a fan of the Smart 4two. An old little car, that achieve nothing as well as it's competition, except being distinctive in the wrong sort of way. Now, if the lady in the silver dress would like to downsize her dress, that's different matter......
      Joseph Wilder
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm very excited about the Smart Electric, but not the gas version. The Smart Electric will feature cutting edge battery and motor technologies and is well suited to urban EV usage. A smaller battery, but still able to go 60 miles. And because of the small battery, more people will be able to charge it easily. It will be a solid start for the EV market.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Joseph Wilder
        That's the problem though. The ForTwo ED is ONLY an Urban car. You'll spend an arm and a leg on a vehicle that will rarely leave the city where you live, if ever. I took my ForTwo from eastern Pennsylvania to western North Carolina. About 600 miles. 1 quick stop for gas, compared to what would be 10+ quite long charges on the way down. Think that's the one downside to electric cars at this point. with only up to 100 mile range on the majority of them, and significantly less if you start using more of the comfort features like air conditioning... they just don't make sense to buy at this point.
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