Caddy’s New Brand Stand

The first work from Fallon for Cadillac broke- finally- during ESPN’s broadcast of the Orange Bowl. Fallon got the account in July after resigning the Chrysler brand and sometime afterward car creative veteran Gary Topolewski got called in for an assist.
The first :60 commercial, dubbed “Red-Blooded Luxury,” sets a new positioning for the brand by poking fun at “blue-blooded” luxury as cold and stiff. Although not a fan of stars appearing in or narrating commercials, actor Laurence Fishburne offers a nice tone and cadence to his voiceover.

Here’s a look in case you didn’t see the game

Feels like this :60 drags on a bit too long. It’s too moody and seems somewhat preachy. And opps, by the way, your brand strategy is showing. It looks like a brand positioning video an agency would do to win a new account. Not a surprise since Cadillac is trying to define its place in the luxury segment.

But Cadillac has put its brand stake a little to close to the “new luxury” positioning Audi has been hammering away at since Scott Keogh arrived there a few years ago as CMO. Audi was mostly aiming its barbs at the other German lux makers, but Caddy likely heard the “old-luxury” message loud and clear, since the average age of its owners had for a long time been among the industry’s oldest. The Escalade and CTS has helped a lot to bring down the age, but they’re not out of the woods yet.

The second spot, a :30 called “Arrows,” is better. It gets to the point (no pun intended), giving viewers a look at how the CTS-V Coupe’s eye-popping 556 horsepower hour looks in action.

Yes, folks, the ending is the best part. Why? This line: “This is why we don’t just make luxury cars. We make Cadillacs.” It’s important Fishburne repeats that in both spots to reinforce that idea in people’s heads.
After all, THIS is the storied, authentic luxury car brand that inspired a gazillion copy cats who have called their brands the “cadillacs of ….” well you name it….to signify the best of the best. Why shouldn’t Caddy get in on some of that action?
And good plan to bring back a version of one of Cadillac’s best tags ever with “The New Standard of the World,” which appears on the screen with the logo at the end of both spots.
Over the years, Caddy has had some real doozies for ad tags. Remember the ridiculous: “The Power of &” ….and what about “The Caddy that Zigs?”
Bartle Bogle Hegarty, or BBH, New York, had the account for about seven months from January 2010- until shortly after Joe Ewanick arrived at GM as the marketing chief. BBH managed to get “The Mark of Leadership” theme approved. That line tips a hat to one of the most honored car ads ever – Cadillac’s “Penalty of Leadership” magazine ad that ran in a 1915 issue of the Saturday Evening Post and written by Theodore MacManus.

Fallon’s new work doesn’t have the same power of the “Break Through” campaign from Chemistri and its predecessor, D’Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles with Led Zeppelin’s high-energy “Rock ‘N Roll” song. The blitz from 2001 to 2005, coupled with a slew of new impressive Cadillac models featuring a new brand design language brought it back to life and attracted new younger buyers.

Cadillac isn’t out of the woods yet, but the buzz is that GM has a bunch of outstanding, cool new products planned for the brand. Looking forward to seeing where Fallon takes this thing.

TWITTER @jhal2001

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One response to “Caddy’s New Brand Stand

  1. I think “We don’t just make luxury cars, we make Cadillacs” is a formulaic ricochet line. And as I pointed out on another post here, “The New Standard of the World” is awfully close to cousin Buick’s latest line “The New Class of World Class.”

    The rest of the brand spot is better, but the familiar, anti-establishment mantra is a far more natural fit for Audi and Acura.

    As for the CTS-V spot, they should have saved the production dollars and just kept running this one:

    One of the best car ads of the year. My favorite part: “Inspired, and humbled, by all the great cars that came before us, like the BMW M5, and the Mercedes-Benz E63…”

    It’s easier to become part of a group with compliments and respect than by calling them old-fashioned.

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