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Fiat uses Google Street to photo bomb VW

That's a Fiat 500, not the VW Up! in front of the German maker's Swedish HQ.
That's a Fiat 500, not the VW Up! in front of the German maker's Swedish HQ.The Detroit Bureau

Automakers normally take their marketing efforts quite seriously, not surprising when you consider the billions of dollars at stake.  But every so often, a little humor creeps in – such as the Tweets Ford has been sending out about General Motors’ decision to stop advertising on Facebook.

Fiat, it seems, took a more creative approach to “punking” its rival Volkswagen AG.

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Search for the German maker’s Swedish headquarters using Google Street View and parked right in front of the main door and you’ll find a little Fiat 500.

Exactly how the stunt was pulled off isn’t clear.  The two makers have their offices fairly close to one another but the challenge is knowing when the Google camera car rolls by.  Apparently, once the Fiat folks figured that out they quickly got into position and posed.

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The folks at Tecca.com first spotted the gag and noticed that the red Fiat 500 tagged along for a while, positioning itself in several other street scenes.

For those not familiar with the service, Google Street View provides a panoramic look at urban, suburban and even many rural roads around the world.  The images are recorded from a fleet of specially-equipped vehicles.  Where roads are inaccessible the company will even use Google Trikes and snowmobiles.  And portable units have been added to offer panoramic views of places such as the White House.

The Fiat 500 pulls out and gets ready to pose for several other Google Street View images.
The Fiat 500 pulls out and gets ready to pose for several other Google Street View images.The Detroit Bureau

Spend enough time searching through the extensive database and you’ll find a number of other pranks from those who spotted the Google camera car in time to offer a “moon” or some other suggestive pose. 

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In fact, Google itself got into the game earlier this year, briefly switching from the normally hi-res images to an 8-bit version for April Fools Day that had the resolution of an early Atari videogame.