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Cadillac Offers First Glimpse of New CT6 Flagship in Academy Awards Ad

Bigger, bolder, more refined sedan meant to redefine Caddy brand.

by on Feb.23, 2015

The new Cadillac CT6 makes an unexpected appearance in one of four Oscars ads.

The Super Bowl has built a reputation among automotive aficionados as a place to watch for a first glimpse of new sheet metal. Now, it seems, automakers are using the Oscars as another venue to provide a sneak peek at what they have coming.

Cadillac, anyway. The Detroit luxury maker dropped the first official image of the new CT6 flagship sedan during one of the spots it ran during the annual Academy Awards ceremony. That revelation came as a double surprise. Caddy had earlier released a 90-second teaser of its new ad campaign, titled “Dare Greatly,” which appeared to avoid showing any of its products at all.

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The new CT6, which will slot into the top of the Cadillac range – at least for now – is set to make its formal public debut at the New York Auto Show in April. (more…)

Cadillac Turns to Teddy Roosevelt in New Ad Campaign

New ad campaign debuting during Oscars broadcast.

by on Feb.19, 2015

Cadillac's new Dare Greatly ad campaign focuses on scenes from New York, rather than product.

Where are the rocks and trees?

A new ad campaign from Cadillac takes a big detour from the traditional automotive marketing approach. Rather than focus on one of the luxury maker’s products, such as the new CTS-V performance sedan, it picks up on one of the more inspiring speeches delivered by President Theodore Roosevelt back in 1910.

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To some observers, it has brought to mind the controversial approach introduced for the 1989 launch of the then-new Infiniti brand which focused on a zen-like natural environment, rather than product. Except the rocks and trees of that campaign have been traded for a slow-motion rendering of New York – which just happens to be where Cadillac is moving its headquarters this year.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better,” declared Roosevelt at the Sorbonne in Paris on April 23, 1910.


Cadillac Goes Rogue

Maker lines up new agency for nearly $250 million account.

by on Jun.12, 2013

Rogue will have the challenge of making sure Cadillac's new CTS line is a success.

Cadillac is going Rogue – the Detroit-based luxury maker lining up a new agency by that name to handle nearly $250 million in annual spending as it struggles to regain its former grandeur in a luxury market today largely dominated by German competitors.

GM has struggled for several decades with declining sales directly related to its stodgy and outdated image. The maker has been trying to attract a younger, more upscale audience with a combination of new products and hipper advertising such as the “Cadillac v The World campaign” it ran to introduce the new ATS during last year’s Olympics.

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But it now plans to part ways with Fallon, the agency it had been using since 2010, in favor of Rogue, a new firm that actually brings together three separate different agencies that operate under the Interpublic Group banner. That includes Hill Holiday, Lowe and Partners and Campbell-Ewald. It is, in fact, an especially sweet victory for the latter firm, which recently moved its headquarters from the suburb of Warren, Michigan to downtown Detroit.

Caddy's old agency, Fallon, produced the "Cadillac v the World" ad campaign.

Campbell-Ewald nearly collapsed a few years ago when it lost the $600 million Chevrolet account it had held for 91 years. While it will now have to share Caddy, which reportedly billed $244 million last year, it’s still an important addition to the portfolio for the firm.

The choice of Rogue followed the requisite shoot-off between ad agencies, though there has been a buzz for more than a month that Campbell-Ewald would likely have some role – underscored by the firm’s decision to move back downtown.

Suggesting all the agencies vying for the account had “demonstrated a high level of thinking,” Cadillac’s global boss Bob Ferguson stressed that, “We selected Rogue because its strategic insights, creative vision for Cadillac and strong luxury and automotive experience were the best match for our global growth plan.”

The word, global, is critical in the equation.  While Cadillac has long billed itself as the “standard for the world,” it has really been limited to the North American market.  And while it was long the number one luxury brand in the U.S. it was eclipsed more than a decade ago by German marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and Japan’s Lexus – the numbers one, two and three in American sales for the calendar-year-to-date.

The Germans, in particular, have a significant advantage in that their global presence brings higher sales and revenues that can better fund product development programs.

Cadillac has struggled to develop a presence in Europe, though after a decade it still has relatively little to show for that effort. It is meanwhile pressing hard to gain a solid foothold in China where it is just launching production of the big XTS sedan. Parent General Motors is the second largest maker in that booming Asian nation, behind Volkswagen – whose Audi brand is China’s best-selling luxury car marque.

Michael Roth, the chairman of the Interpublic Group, emphasized the global nature of the new account by promising the three-agency team would bring together talent and knowledge “domestically and around the world.”

Cadillac already has other agencies it works with beyond U.S. borders but Rogue is expected to take the lead, especially in terms of developing coordinated messaging worldwide.

The account will be managed out of Campbell-Ewald’s new Detroit headquarters but Hill Holiday will oversee creative work.

The agency switch may be particularly frustrating for Fallon on the losing end. The agency’s ads may have taken some hits from media critics but it has also been able to point to a marked upturn in Cadillac’s performance in the car market. The GM flagship brand’s sales surged 40% in May, among the strongest upturns in the industry.

Of course, it helps to have major new products such as the big XTS and the smaller ATS – the latter named North American Car of the Year last January by a jury of 50 U.S. and Canadian auto writers.

But the switch also comes at a critical juncture for Cadillac. An even more new product, the completely redesigned CTS, will go on sale later this year. The sedan has been Caddy’s best-seller and the maker has high hopes for the new, third-generation model that will be more directly aimed at such critical competitors as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Audi A5 and Lexus GS. Cadillac will need a strong ad message to stand out in such a daunting crowd.

Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Who the Hell is in Charge at GM?

Time to stop blaming Joel Ewanick.

by on Mar.15, 2013

GM would like to blame all its sales and marketing woes on former CMO Joel Ewanick - but maybe it needs to point elsewhere, says columnist Bernstein.

The advertising business is loaded with cliches but perhaps the most pertinent is, “An agency is only as good as the client lets it be!” Yet, when the ads aren’t working it never turns out to be the clients fault, it’s always the agency’s.  Ha! It is the client who establishes the marketing goals and objectives, often in a vacuum of reality, understanding and experience.

And then there’s the wonderful phrase, “We have a strong agency – client relationship!” Double-Ha! That’s the kiss of death. There is no such thing as a long lasting agency/client relationship. At best it is confrontational, more likely acrimonious and seldom harmonious.

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The ad agency news this week emanating from General Motors’ Renaissance Center headquarters makes the political mess in Washington seem almost trivial, doesn’t it? The rather nasty innuendos and evil repercussions are intended to put the blame on one person, Joel Ewanick, which is a crock. True, as global Chief Marketing Officer, Ewanick had plenipotentiary powers bestowed on him by the CEO and board of directors. But the marketing ship was already floundering with its sails and rudders gone and no captain. And it’s unclear anyone really wanted Ewanick to do what was necessary to make GM’s marketing operations ship-shape.


Ewanick Legacy “Gone,” GM Marketing in Turmoil

Caddy and Chevy accounts shift; will Buick-GMC follow?

by on Mar.14, 2013

Tippett Studios, which created the fantasy world in Jurassic Park, now helps Buick's Encore dodge dinosaurs in a new ad campaign.

General Motors’ marketing operations are a step short of chaos, according to sources close to the maker, with two of GM’s most important brands set to review – and likely make major changes to – their ad agency partnerships.

Chevrolet is the latest to be looking for new talent after a disappointing effort to turn to an unusual partnership between two of the advertising industry’s largest agencies. The largest of the GM brands is also getting a new global marketing chief of its own next month. As previously reported, Cadillac also is switching ad agencies.

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The reported moves mean that the legacy of former GM global marketing czar Joel Ewanick is largely “gone,” according to an industry veteran. Ironically, it appears that the latest shake-up involves a game of musical chairs, some of the agencies coming back to GM having had long associations with the maker in the past.


Cadillac’s Ad Account Under Review

Long-time Chevy agency Campbell-Ewald seen as a top contender.

by on Mar.13, 2013

A scene from the Cadillac Versus the World ad campaign produced by Fallon Worldwide.

The game of musical chairs among General Motors’ ad agencies is apparently going to continue, the Detroit maker confirming it has put the account for its flagship brand Cadillac up for review.

GM marketing has been enmeshed in turmoil in recent years as the maker has struggled to come up with the right formula to promote the downsized mix of brands that emerged following the carmaker’s 2009 bankruptcy. The situation has been compounded by a series of management shake-ups that included the hiring and subsequent firing of “change agent” Joel Ewanick.

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The decision to consider the marketing options for Cadillac comes as the maker begins to gain momentum with a new line of products, and as it begins to push beyond its traditional U.S. market boundaries. It could be a severe setback for Caddy’s current agency of record, Minneapolis-based Fallon Worldwide. But it may bring redemption for one-time GM advertising powerhouse Campbell-Ewald.


Cadillac Changes Ad Agencies – Again

Musical chairs – but is Chrysler left without a seat?

by on Jun.29, 2010

It's now up to Fallon to help Cadillac move the metal as the GM division's new ad agency.

It’s a game of musical chairs in the automotive ad world, these days, and it’s hard to find many brands that haven’t changed their seats – or partners – in recent months, though some seem to be moving more often than others.

Like Cadillac, which has yet again switched agencies under the orders of General Motors’ new marketing czar, former Hyundai wiz kid Joel Ewanick (who is himself on his third job since the beginning of the year).

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GM’s luxury arm will now be teaming up with the well-respected Fallon, part of mega-agency Publicis Groupe.  The decision to switch to Fallon was something of a lateral move, however, since Caddy had, not that many months ago, switched its multi-million dollar account to another Publicis agency, Bartle Bogle.