Chrysler says the new Fiat 500 subcompact, introduced in the U.S. last year, is making waves among consumers, but ad campaigns intended to spark even more interest in the car, such as those featuring actress Jennifer Lopez, have fallen short of their mark.

So Fiat is taking a new tack, focusing more on the car and less on celebrity.

A new commercial for the 500 titled “Immigrants,” playfully portrays the brand’s journey from Italy to the American shores. The cars are seen careening off Italian cliffs into the Mediterrain and “swimming” to New York. “The next wave of Italians is coming to America, and they’ve come to party,” a voiceover says.

The Fiat ad, conceived by The Richards Group of Dallas, TX, features the 500 base, cabrio and premium Abarth models.

Fiat’s reintroduction to the North American market began with a heavy promotional campaign featuring Lopez. The actress starred in three TV spots, drove a 500 cabrio in a music video and brought the car on stage during one of her live performances.

One commercial, supposedly featuring the celebrity in her hometown of New York City, was criticized after it was discovered that Lopez had not filmed the ad there; a body double was used to drive through New York streets.

Fiat sales rebounded after the auto maker used controversial actor Charlie Sheen in TV spots earlier this year. Through June, the 500 had sold 20,706 units in the U.S., up 318.8% from year-ago, according to WardsAuto data.

“We are proud and thankful to be back in this country, and we wanted to capture the viewer’s attention in a way that is impactful, visually-appealing and entertaining, while reinforcing our distinctive Italian origin,” Olivier Francois, president-Fiat brand, says of the “Immigrants” marketing campaign.

afoley@wardsauto.com