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Cadillac. Modernista. And the Pursuit…

Monday July 31, 2006

Cadillac has teamed-up with Modernista in order to create and launch a new ad campaign aimed at doing a second re-launch of the bread by changing their image and taking it one step further. This means Cadillac will drop the Led Zeppelin, the BREAK THROUGH slogan and their whole luxury with attitude mantra that have almost become synonymous with the Cadillac name; at least, in recent years, after they’ve done away with the whole old-man’s car image. It appears they’ve decided that it’s time for yet another makeover, since their old self just isn’t who they want to be anymore.

So without further adieu, I present to you the all-new Cadillac ad/image campaign: Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit.

You may be wondering “the pursuit of what?” and frankly, I’d love to tell you, but I can’t. It’s not that we were sworn to secrecy or anything of the wort, I simply don’t know the answer to that anymore than you do. I even have my doubts that they really what it means either.

To further this confusion, their goal is to become less of a Chevy’s big-brother and more of an American icon again; I guess this is why they decided to borrow a line from the Declaration of Independence for use as a slogan: what better way to declare yourself American as apple pie. The confusion comes in when you ask them what kind of customer they will be targeting and they tell you they’re aiming for the “Perpetual Strivers.”

Who are these perpetual strivers, as they call them? They’ve classified them into the following three categories and will apparently have three different sets of ads, one to target each specific group.

Oh, and know that these are their words, not mine:

Alpha Males – Who come into a dealership already knowing more about performance and the hardware than the dealer.

Hot Moms– Who are career women with family-care responsibilities, and independent when it comes to choosing their car without necessarily checking with her husband.

Move Ups – Who are car-buyers under the age of 35 who are already in the income range to afford a Cadillac.

So they’ve decided they would rather go from being the icon of excess to merely a more subtle status symbol of the keeping-up with the Jones’ kind of suburbanite lifestyle: good for them! While it doesn’t really appear to be all bad, I feel this somewhat reeks of Jaguar’s Gorgeous, or other such campaigns that are really all fluff and no stuff.

I’m sure it will work and will successfully push the brand in the new direction they want to send it in, and for that I can’t fault it or them; business is business, after all. However, I simply don’t agree with the fact that they may have a plan to essentially strip the brand of all substance, all in the name of making a quick buck by going mainstream luxury and trying to be trendy.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday January 11, 2008 2:49 pm

    I consulted to GM for a number of years. They have all the pieces for the ads, but don’t know how to put them together as motivational breakthroughs. Consequently, though they can identify the strivers and alpha folks, just picturing people getting out of a Caddie instead of a BMW, Audi or Lexus they’d rather be seen in doesn’t cut the mustard. Here’s why Cadillac, or any GM ad has no traction.

    Ads today have lost site of the goal of actually getting someone to get up and go do something. They are made more in the mold of, “if you throw enough shit against the glass some of it might stick.”

    There has been a dramatic abscence in “calls to action” or “reasons-for-being” in ads over the last 25 years, – the things that give ads traction – coincidentally coinciding with a decline of importance of “positioning” in the minds of marketers. Oh sure, Cadillac has a “positioning” – it lives in the luxury/high price quadrant versus Chevy’s family/value quadrant at GM. The only problem is that these “positionings” do nothing to drive breakthrough creative or innovative Perceptual Innovations or Perceptual Monopolies that cause consumers to get up and go spend their money with Cadillac versus the likes of a Lexus or Audi that instant. Just puting mid life good looking models getting out of Cadillacs with tag lines that say, “Life. Liberty and the Pursuit” just don’t cut it motivationally. Please delve into this subject further. You are on the right track. The pursuit of what!!!??? And the agregious borrowing from our forefather’s ideals – so contrived.

    The ads you see are the way they are, because the people who make the ads have grown up in an environment where the ads they make are much like the ads they’ve seen. Same goes with their teachers in MBA schools. Therefore, they believe they are correct. As the saying goes, “average has gotten so bad that you can go to the head of the class just by showing up.”

    Since I do a lot of automotive work and I like your blog I’d like to ad you to my blogroll so my readers can find you too. Would you mind reciprocating?
    Thank you!

  2. Saturday March 7, 2009 12:59 pm

    I have to say, enjoyed the read, thanks.


  1. McCann Out of Running for Cadillac Account – Agency News / Connnecting the Dots

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