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New Cadillac Advertising - Say So long to Breakthrough, Led Zeppelin Music and Gary Sinise Voiceovers

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2007 Cadillac Crest




by Marty Bernstein, Marketing – Advertising editor

Presentations of new advertising campaigns are often as much about style as substance. That’s why most new campaigns are presented in the agency’s lush conference room replete with the very latest in sophisticated, state-of-the-art presentation technology and hushed surroundings.

The best, the very best in projectors, sound systems and speakers, huge super-mega-pixel screens, controlled mood lighting, climate control and comfortable chairs are de rigueur. Except yesterday.

Cadillac executives and the founders of Caddy’s new advertising agency, Modernista!, presented the new Cadillac campaign to members of the automotive media in an empty, new loft apartment in Royal Oak, a newly fashionable suburb of Detroit.

The room was stark white with black accents. The lights were either on or off, there was no mood lighting. The audio-video equipment was two speakers on stands and a screen that could fold up – it was adequate but not super techy. The air conditioning was over tasked and not hushed. And the folding chairs were Ikea like.

So much for style. This was a meeting of substance. And the substance was going to be the new advertising. It was going to be center stage and set the mood. And it did.

Let’s face it, a not so subtle message was sent. This is the new Cadillac for a new market that’s not considered us before now. We were old, stogy and boring, but not now. To me, it was a Kafka-eske metamorphosis in reverse.

Why The Change?
"Our 'Break Through' campaign focused primarily on an all-new portfolio of dramatically styled, high-performance, luxury Cadillac vehicles,” said Cadillac General Manager, Jim Taylor. “Our new products and marketing strategies successfully conveyed to consumers that there’s a new Cadillac to consider that replaces their earlier perceptions of the brand.”

Liz Vanzura, global marketing director of Cadillac added, “We have raised awareness and achieved good momentum with the Cadillac brand. But now it’s time to put a face on the brand and invite more consumers to experience what Cadillac has to offer.”

Research Driven
A major consumer research imitative was underway in March and April that in-cluded the ubiquitous focus group discussions that are an automotive research mainstay. While the groups were not defined, it was obvious from a couple of clips shown, that owners of competi-tive luxury and other brands were being probed for insights, thoughts and comments.

The new campaign, the first for Cadillac from Modernista! and developed in re-cord time it seems, is based on extensive consumer research that concluded the theme “Life. Liberty. And The Pursuit.” best communicates to consumers that Cadillac embodies the best of America, embraces the brand’s rich heritage, yet is forward looking and modern.

Additionally, the research five different consumer groups were identified as the targets for the new advertising. The groups are:

    • Loyalists – those who already own Cadillac’s
    • Boomers – the group turning 60 who really don’t like Cadillac
    • Alphas’ – tech types who search for information
    • Hot Moms – not your prototypical soccer mom
    • Move Ups -- young adults without preconceived ideas

It showcases Cadillac’s relevancy to today’s luxury consumers and supports the next generation of Cadillac’s ongoing product renaissance. The new advertising will launch in early August and continue to roll-out throughout the rest of the year.

So What’s The New Advertising?
Past Cadillac ads, both print and broadcast, in recent years have been product driven – “Show and sell the sheet metal”

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

– is a cry often heard in Detroit advertising communities. Modern-ista! has done more than show the sheet metal, they’ve created print ads (Television was not shown – more later) that utilize, emphasize and stress the Cadillac name, back in script again, the Cadillac crest (sans ducks), iconic archi-tecture and real people in identifiable situations and atmospheres.

Oh, and they ooze luxury without saying luxurious. Think Gucci meets Frank Ghery with a touch of Tiffany at South Hampton. The production quality and look are lush and luxurious. Three different styles were shown and detailed.

Theme & Campaign Set-up
The campaign will begin with single page ads that use identifiable, iconic architectural designs, buildings and bridges in black and white with the Cadillac logo in color. Copy is sparse, limited to the theme line as seen below.

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PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Buildings are man made with distinctive style, form and structure. Cadillac hopes to add this dis-tinctive perception to their vehicles. The single pagers will launch the campaign and have started to appear already in a big list of slick, stylish magazines and automotive buff books.

The People We’d Like to See Driving Our Cars
The next step in the campaign is people focused and driven. And sure to warm every ad executive who has ever said, “I want the logo bigger,” these ads do it bigger than any I’ve ever seen. The Cadillac logo is not just big, its huge without being overdone. The ads, spreads actu-ally, are a little off-center with stuff going on along the boarders to set them apart even more. Not much of the vehicle is shown. It’s the people who matter.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Naturally other iterations will be developed to highlight one or more of the five consumer groups the research has identified. And there will be the PC mix of ethnicities as well.

Show Me The Sheet Metal
For the automotive advertising purists who assert the vehicle must be shown big, these ads just what they want and, much to an art directors chagrin I feel certain, the Cadillac script logo is again dynamic (aka huge!). Copy is product attribute “nuggets” and the headlines are conversational and topical.

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PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

In black and white they’re suitable for dealer ads … just add the name, address and price.

Where’s the Television?
Cadillac has always used television as a primary medium with an emphasis on “The best of the Best,” said Vanzura. But none one of the new commercials were available for screening to the media mavens, but three that will air in September were described by a Modernista! exec. And, he commented there are 15 more in the works for the balance of the year. Production and post production companies around the U.S. will be delighted with this news.

What Else?
Naturally this will be an integrated, multi-media, multi-level, mega-bucks campaign that will touch on the old and add many of the new tools of marketing communications. More to come.

Pedal to the Metal
“Cadillac was, is, and will always be the American luxury automobile icon and symbol of success,” said Vanzura. “Our new advertising will showcase the brand’s rich heritage in an ap-proach that is fresh and aspirational.”

At the opening of this article I talked about style over substance. The different venue for the presentation was just fine. And the ads? Well, they represent both style and substance Ö and isnít that nice.