Score of small cars are emerging from the side of a superyacht, being launched as if they were torpedos. And who’s that on the foredeck? It’s the rapper Pitbull, with a dozen beautiful female dancers carousing energetically. And what’s this? Pitbull is releasing someone from being cryogenically frozen on board – that’s not just someone, that’s Charlie Sheen. This meeting of special effects and celebrity sounds like an absurdly vivid dream after an evening at the cheese counter. But in fact, it’s the shoot of a global ad for the new Fiat 500, the star of which is the 50-metre Delta Arianna.
Superyachts have often had cameos in the movies but seldom anything like this. The yacht is just off the Miami shoreline and there’s a production barge alongside, as well as three US Coast Guard boats patrolling off, ensuring everyone’s safety and keeping curious spectators away. As well as the celebrities and the celebrities’ people there’s the film crew – 50 in all. It’s a major operation and a logistical nightmare.
But the team behind SG Private Wealth Advisors, the family office that oversaw the build of Arianna and is responsible for her charter career, had no hesitation in accepting. “In January, John Cichanowicz at Burgess asked if we’d be interested in having Arianna feature as the centrepiece in a photoshoot with the new Fiat 500, Pitbull, Charlie Sheen, and the Italian singer Arianna,” says Dovi Frances, president of SG Private Wealth Advisors. “I said yes right away, as I saw a great opportunity to align Arianna with a world-renowned brand such as Fiat, and to exhibit Arianna to an extremely wide audience.”
It’s SG Private Wealth Advisors’ philosophy that “a superyacht has to be treated as a super-brand”, and with this in mind it has been operating Arianna successfully as a charter yacht for her owners since launch and when this opportunity presented itself it was too good to miss. “Having a beautiful vessel in a sea of superyachts for charter and sale isn’t enough,” says Frances. “While it’s important to be aggressive and competitive when it comes to pricing, it is also important to realise that pricing can’t be and shouldn’t be the only tool we have in our arsenal.”
Watch a behind-the-scenes video:
For the photoshoot to happen they had a time window of just 30 days to get everything set up. Behind the serene face of all great brands, of course, there is an army of people peddling furiously, and this case was no exception. “We had John at Burgess, Arianna’s captain Mark Lacey, Fiat’s production and legal teams, and our attorney working on negotiating a contract and on figuring out a location for a two-day shoot that would work for all parties,” says Frances. And, amazingly, it all came together. Production at first wanted to shoot in front of a coconut grove but Arianna’s draught was too great for the shallow waters close in. Gaining Coast Guard approval was a challenge, as was the proviso that the vessel couldn’t move while there was shooting on board. “And production insisted that we had a floating barge attached to Arianna so that the crew of about 50 had a base,” Frances says.
The culmination of all these efforts started early on a morning in March off Miami as Arianna was repositioned alongside the production barge and the Coast Guard deployed their vessels to patrol the production area. Around noon, the director, producers and dancers started arriving, and following them at 2pm were two tenders full of celebrities – Pitbull, Charlie Sheen, Shaggy, singer Arianna, and NBA star Tristen Thompson. “They were all extremely professional. There were zero interruptions and the cameras just kept rolling,” says Frances.
It was a two-day shoot, and one benefit of having Arianna as a platform was that there was a ready-made place of entertainment. “At the end of every production day we hosted dinners on board. Arianna’s chef Stuart Ince made Polynesian-inspired dishes and we enjoyed ourselves immensely while listening to Charlie Sheen sharing some funny stories from the set of Two and a Half Men. On the second night we had Juanes, a famous Colombian singer, and Arianna perform a duet together in front of a small group of friends – a song that will be released in a few months,” says Frances.
The demands of a film crew presents its own logistical thorns. Provision had to be made for proper lighting and ensuring there was ample power. An additional difficulty came when production said they needed more footage of the yacht as a backdrop, so another day with Arianna was scheduled to get some running shots of the yacht. And yet it all came together. “The deal had a lot of working parts, but the results were everything we hoped for,” says Olivier Francois, president and CEO of the Fiat brand worldwide. “Arianna was not only the perfect backdrop for our shoot, but also the perfect partner for our campaign. It exudes everything our brand and campaign is about: modern design, blending form, function and a pride of ownership that is genuine.”
Even the film production team – a notoriously tricky section of the population to keep happy – were impressed. “Arianna is an excellent centrepiece to our production. Filming aboard her and working with her management and crew was a seamless experience that we’re certain will shine through in the final cut,” says producer Justin Diener.
Arianna is certainly a unique case among superyachts, marketed in a way that is focused on getting the best for the owner in a competitive charter market. It’s not that the method is in competition with brokers, but it means getting the name of the yacht out into a wider world beyond the cocoon of the superyacht industry. “We want Arianna to be known worldwide. We want charter clients to come to their brokers and ask specifically to charter Arianna,” says Frances. There is, though, no rest for this film star. She has a busy charter season ahead with repeat bookings from last season and new clients ready to enjoy her.
Watch the full video below: