The Fiat 500 is one year old, there will be great celebrations throughout the world on 5 July. From Italy to Japan and France to South Africa, all owners - and those who can't wait to become one -will be guests of honour at the ‘500 PICNIC' events, a campaign introduced to share the passion and thrills of this great community.

More than 112,000 customers are already driving the 500 along the roads of 70 countries, while another 100,000 are due to join them in the coming months. To harness this great passion, we decided to give the 500 community its own special space in the shape of the ‘500 loves you' site, a spin-off of the innovative web platform ‘500wantsyou'.

The idea of this great party and the first official meeting of the 500 community came from the people themselves, from the wish to get to know one another, to be together, to share a passion and to show off their 500s. For these people, the new car represents a genuine motoring legend, symbol of Italian design excellence, a heritage rich in history and significance that belongs to everyone.

Most customers chose a top of the range 500 with plenty of accessories: 80% of the cars are Lounge and Sport versions with Blue&Me as standard, a feature that allows them to stay in touch with others at all times in a simple and secure manner. The picnics held on 5 July will be an opportunity to get together and have fun, entirely in the spirit of the 500, which is, after all, ‘the car of the people, created by the people'.

The ‘500 PICNIC' events will be held in Amsterdam, Athens, Copenhagen, London, Milan, Monaco, Palermo, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Valencia, Hel, Vienna, Zurich and Cape City. In South Africa, the campaign will actually coincide with the launch of the Fiat 500. This extraordinary event, held in the green spaces or beaches of each city, will involve thousands of people who will be able to enjoy themselves to the accompaniment of music and live performances chosen by the participants themselves by means of an online artistic selection system that will be hosted with the cooperation of our ad hoc partner, MTV.

The ‘500 PICNIC' campaign is currently being supported by an entertaining TV advertising spot broadcast on MTV itself. The film was designed using the same approach as the product advert that went on air throughout Europe: a set of essential picnic items alternate quickly on the screen, dancing around to the sound of music.

The main communication medium for the event is the site developed by ARC Leo Burnett. The site features an open air interface produced in Flash with 3D effects. Curious characters on the innovative side invite browsers to take part in the ‘500 PICNIC Artists' competition that, up to 16 June, will involve all aspiring artists in a special online casting organized in conjunction with MTV. By registering on the site and sending in your video, you have a chance of performing during the ‘500 PICNIC' events, and the best performers will win a Fiat 500. Each candidate will have their own avatar in a dynamic gallery, personalised with the image of their own face (produced using a specially-developed tool), who will invite visitors to watch their performance and support them in terms of preference.

The international marketing platform ‘500 wants you' has now been in existence for two years and the website never fails to surprise (to date, more than 120,000 people from 206 countries have registered), continuing to produce original and innovative campaigns. And the latest online attraction can be visited on this site: ‘500 loves you', a community devoted to owners of the new 500, created as a spin-off of the ‘500 wants you' platform, with the aim of becoming a great online space offering social networking functions and services.

This innovative campaign, the only one of its kind, is accessible from and designed to accept and offer special services to those who have chosen the new 500 as their car (there are more than 61,000 owners in Italy alone). Customers register their own data and that of their 500 to create their own personal space with a dedicated web address that they can manage independently: this space will be created automatically after registration due to the development of a system that allows communication between the community database and the Fiat customer database, where the 500 car owner data can be identified and validated. At the end of the process, each customer will have their own personal space where they can display their 500, giving details such as their car's body colour and personalisations.

Each ‘500 lover' is free to manage their own personal space, which amounts to a blog to be completed and updated with their contributions (text, image and video posts). They will also be able to exchange messages with other site members, create a friend's list within ‘500 loves you', receive notifications about their own 500's important dates, suggest gatherings and organize meetings through the community noticeboard, and much more.

The activities hosted by the new community, include a ‘500 Wiki' area, where owners can describe their own experiences of the new car's features, post comments and vote for the functions. This participatory ‘wiki' is under continuous development and useful to both ‘500 lovers' and the Fiat brand for obtaining impressions and receiving advice, but also to all 500 fans who can visit the site and gain access to the on line content even if they do not own the car.