By on August 27, 2011

This Cadillac ad is the latest in a series of seriously good spots for the CTS-V, which started with this “Competition” ad from last Summer. But then, as I found in a short drive, the CTS-V writes its own ad copy, 556 HP at a time. And this latest spot has one minor truth-related omission: though GM rightly claims that Magneride Magnetorheological suspension was “perfected” in the CTS-V, it actually debuted in the less ad-dollar-worthy 2002 STS. And there’s no mention of the fact that the technology was developed by Delphi, then a technically independent firm, and the technology has since been sold to Beijing West Industries. Of course, these details aren’t exactly worthy of the limited time available in a 60-second spot, but it’s the truth, dammit. “Just sayin…”

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24 Comments on “Truth Versus Advertising: A Ferrari In The Rear-View Mirror Of An STS Edition...”


  • avatar
    redliner

    I really liked that. It leaves the viewer with the impression that Cadillac still has strong engineering talent.

    Perhaps it’s not 100% true that Cadillac engineered it, but they did have a lot of influence over it’s design requirements, and they where the first to use it… so the ad is true enough for me.

    Better than the mercury ads… probably NSFW.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Great ad and I understand Ed’s points. Being perfected in the CTS-v is correct and even if it debuted in another model that was a Cadillac too. Delphi was originally part of GM, I accept technically independent but very close links persist. As for the technology being sold onto Beijing West Industries, it sounds like it was also sold onto Ferrari. This ad is true and not really misleading even with digging.
    At least the new ad agency is doing good with one GM model!

  • avatar
    fredtal

    There was a Toyota or Nissan ad comparing their little pickup to a Lotus Esprit. Proving that advertisement is just bs.

  • avatar
    2ronnies1cup

    Trouble is, the ferrari still looks more elegant and desirable in the advert, even seen in the rear-view mirrors.

    There’s no denying the CTS-V is a formidable engineering tour-de-force, but it looks like it was styled by an autistic 12-year-old with a box of crayons and a HotWheels fixation.

    • 0 avatar
      OmarCCXR

      I think the CTS-V Wagon is sexier than the 458.

    • 0 avatar

      Just wondering. How do you feel about the CTS wagon and coupe, or about the recent Ciel and Converj concepts. Like it or not, GM Design has indeed created a distinctive look with the Art & Science theme. Toyota has struggled to give Lexus a visual brand identity (L finesse? L essence? I forget) but Ed Welburn’s team nailed it out of the box and has refined and improved it over the past decade or so.

      BTW, I happened to meet Kip Wasenko, now retired from GM, who drew the Evoq concept that was the first expression of Cadillac’s current design theme. He’s got pretty good taste in cars. His Dream Cruise ride was a ’71 Ferrari Dino GT.

      The truth is that just about everyone working on the design teams at all the major car companies around the world have talent. Sure, all organizations have some idiots and crackpots and connivers but for the most part, car designers are bright, talented folks. But as Howard Payne, who with John Orfe did the model that became the ’61 Continental (whose bladed fenders influenced many, many cars). explained to me, if the studio chief comes back from lunch loaded and tells you to do this, you do this. It’s a collaborative process involving team members, bosses telling you what to do, and the engineers and manufacturing people telling you what you can or can’t do. Not to mention the nefarious bean counters.

      I remember reading, maybe in “>Michael Lamm’s book on the history of American automotive styling, that in the 40s and 50s, GM designers were encouraged to design body panels that could be easily stacked on a pallet.

    • 0 avatar

      Just wondering. How do you feel about the CTS wagon and coupe, or about the recent Ciel and Converj concepts. Like it or not, GM Design has indeed created a distinctive look with the Art & Science theme. Toyota has struggled to give Lexus a visual brand identity (L finesse? L essence? I forget) but Ed Welburn’s team nailed it out of the box and has refined and improved it over the past decade or so.

      BTW, I happened to meet Kip Wasenko, now retired from GM, who drew the Evoq concept that was the first expression of Cadillac’s current design theme. He’s got pretty good taste in cars. His Dream Cruise ride was a ’71 Ferrari Dino GT.

      The truth is that just about everyone working on the design teams at all the major car companies around the world have talent. Sure, all organizations have some [insert the word for really not smart people the the filter doesn\'t like and keeps flagging this comment for moderation] and crackpots and connivers but for the most part, car designers are bright, talented folks. But as Howard Payne, who with John Orfe did the model that became the ’61 Continental (whose bladed fenders influenced many, many cars). explained to me, if the studio chief comes back from lunch loaded and tells you to do this, you do this. It’s a collaborative process involving team members, bosses telling you what to do, and the engineers and manufacturing people telling you what you can or can’t do. Not to mention the nefarious bean counters.

      I remember reading, maybe in Michael Lamm’s book on the history of American automotive styling, that in the 40s and 50s, GM designers were encouraged to design body panels that could be easily stacked on a pallet.

    • 0 avatar

      Just wondering. How do you feel about the CTS wagon and coupe, or about the recent Ciel and Converj concepts. Like it or not, GM Design has indeed created a distinctive look with the Art & Science theme. Toyota has struggled to give Lexus a visual brand identity (L finesse? L essence? I forget) but Ed Welburn’s team nailed it out of the box and has refined and improved it over the past decade or so.

      BTW, I happened to meet Kip Wasenko, now retired from GM, who drew the Evoq concept that was the first expression of Cadillac’s current design theme. He’s got pretty good taste in cars. His Dream Cruise ride was a ’71 Ferrari Dino GT.

      The truth is that just about everyone working on the design teams at all the major car companies around the world have talent. Sure, all organizations have some [insert the word for really not smart people the the filter doesn\'t like and keeps flagging this comment for moderation] and crackpots and connivers but for the most part, car designers are bright, talented folks. But as Howard Payne, who with John Orfe did the model that became the ’61 Continental (whose bladed fenders influenced many, many cars). explained to me, if the studio chief comes back from lunch loaded and tells you to do this, you do this. It’s a collaborative process involving team members, bosses telling you what to do, and the engineers and manufacturing people telling you what you can or can’t do. Not to mention the nefarious bean counters.

      I remember reading, maybe in Michael Lamm’s book on the history of American automotive styling, that in the 40s and 50s, GM designers were encouraged to design body panels that could be easily stacked on a pallet.

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        Cadillac design = origami

        I heard Voltron is mad.

      • 0 avatar
        2ronnies1cup

        Maybe my comment comes over as a little harsh. I don’t really believe that the designer is either autistic or that he uses crayons.

        I just find this Caddy a particularly strong example of the school of styling that’s unfortunately particularly popular at the moment. You know the look I mean – that kind of exaggerated disproportionate cartoonish thing – HotWheels is probably the best term I have for it.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    Nice ad concept but they probably should have used the FF. the 458 is just too much of a reminder that the CTS looks ill-proportioned, porky and slab-sided. Latest in a long line of these “compare us to the premium guys” ads so a B-. Probably not going to move the needle much with intenders who believe that Audi, BMW and Lexus have better technology (my assumption of the target and objective)

    • 0 avatar

      I think that misses the point. The ad isn’t about styling, it’s about technology. The FF has many critics, as does the California and the 612 but the 458 is highly regarded. If you’re going to compare yourself to a Ferrari, short of the F40 or Enzo maximum supercar niche, the 458 is the one to use.

      You do raise an interesting point, what used to be derided by some on this site as the “perception gap”. Intenders may “believe” that Audi, BMW and Lexus have better tech. The point of the ad is to disabuse those intenders of that belief.

      They can believe all they want but facts are facts and the Ferrari uses a technology that GM and their subsidiary developed.

      Come to think of it, they could have made the ad even more effective, but first they’d need to just slightly increase the horsepower of the CTS-V (which shouldn’t be a problem since the same basic engine puts out 80+ HP more in the ZR1) from 556 to more than the 458 Italia’s 562.

      The ad starts with the BMW M3 or M5, one of Audi’s competing sport models, Lexus IS-F, Jaguar XFR and maybe even a Nissan GT-R, and a Ferrari 458 all racing on a track. The 458 passes them all as the narrator starts talking about the Ferrari’s magnetorheological dampers and its 562 horsepower. That’s when the footage from this ad starts, we see that the Ferrari is in the CTS-V’s rear view mirror, unable to pass it and the narrator tell us that those dampers Ferrari uses in the 458 were first perfected in the CTS. Unsurpassed technology, the new standard of the world.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        That’s the trouble with ads. Viewers don’t compartmentalize them into “oh, they want to tell me about technology” and ignore the striking visual disparity in their first impressions. A marketing guy might defend this as an “ad about technology not styling” but any agency CD will know the truth but keep their mouth shut to get paid. Fallon should know better and have the guts to fix these little issues. They clearly know it’s odd looking in the 3/4 because the art directors first shot of the CTSV pulls away but not enough to show the whole (massive) rear flank. That’s my opinion anyway.

  • avatar

    Ed,

    Just to pick a nit, I could be wrong but I believe the original research and patents on magnetorheological fluids in dampers was done before Delphi was spun off and that GM itself holds those patents.

    The tragedy of the domestic automakers is that they indeed have talented people working for them. A couple of posters in the this thread have criticized the looks of the CTS. The other night at the meet and greet in Southfield, while we were standing around the VW that Michael was testing, I pointed out the A pillar on a nearby CTS and the way that it extends down into the fender. It’s a singular bit of styling, no other car that I can think of has had it, rather original. Regardless of how one thinks about the styling of the CTS sedan (I think it’s attractive enough but prefer the wagon and the couple is very sharp, but then I kind of get the Art & Science thing) the A pillar is a masterful piece of design and manufacture. I’ve spoken with designers at GM and they fought hard for that A pillar. That fender is not easy or cheap to form, with many complex shapes concentrated in a only a few square inches of metal.

    A lot of people think GM, Ford & Chrysler are filled with incompetents from top to bottom. Managers, engineers, designers and factory workers are all presumed to be lesser to those in Germany, Japan and Korea. The truth is that those companies, particularly GM and Ford, have made a lot of innovations even while the business side of their enterprises were being run into the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      TomH

      You are correct, you’re wrong. The MR fluid in the Delphi shocks was supplied by the Lord Corporation. Delphi and GM did the application engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Ronnie: I just wanted to riff off of what you posted. I personally really like the Art and Science styling, it’s a reminder of the groundbreaking 1977 GM full size cars. I’m a graphic designer/production artist by trade, but have followed styling since childhood and remain impressed with what Mr. Welburn’s studios are producing today.

      My daughter and I witnessed a CTS-V Coupe in motion at the Grand Rapids Metro Cruise this weekend, she fell in love. For an early 20’s woman to appreciate a car like that is impressive to me.

      My own dealings with GM employees are relatives & friends who are mostly line workers, but I have met some other office types and I have generally been impressed with them. Most have been genuinely nice people and very knowledgeable about their product. I think a lot of these folks get painted with the same brush, when it is not true.

  • avatar

    How long has Cadillac been using “The New Standard of the World” tag line? I think that’s very good too. The ad is terrific.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      Just recently with Fallon’s new (i.e., not the pitch material) work. It’s a play on the classic tagline of Cadillac. not sure from when exactly and too lazy to look it up (or spell check) but probably the first 50 years of existance.

      • 0 avatar

        I know about the classic tag line. It originated in Henry Leland’s day, after they won the Dewar Trophy because of Leland’s insistence on precision and standardized parts. Cadillac was the first auto company to use standard “Jo blocks” to calibrate tools.

        From Wikipedia:

        In February 1908, three Model Ks from the 1907 Cadillac production were released from the stock of Frederick Stanley Bennett (UK agent for Cadillac automobiles) at the Heddon Street showroom in London (these were engines Nos. 23391, 24111 and 24118). The three cars, all registered in London under the numbers A2EO, A3EO and A4EO, were driven 25 miles to the Brooklands race track at Weybridge. There, the cars completed another 25 miles before being put under lock and key until Monday March 2, 1908 when they were released and disassembled completely. Their 721 component parts were scrambled in one heap. Eighty-nine parts requiring extreme accuracy were withdrawn from the heap, locked away at the Brooklands club house and replaced with new parts from the Mr. Bennett’s showroom stock. A mechanic – Mr. E.O. Young – reassembled the cars with the help of his assistant – Mr. M.M. Gardner. Sometimes they had to work ankle-deep in water, using only wrenches and screwdrivers. The third car was re-assembled by Tuesday evening, March 10. By 2 p.m. on Friday March 13 the three cars had completed the mandatory 500-mile run with singular regularity. Only one point was lost owing to a broken cotter pin in the ignition lever (promptly replaced from stock). During the event, it was reported that one of the sheds where the parts were stored became partly flooded during a heavy storm and some parts became rusted. Only oily rags could be used to remove all traces of the immersion. On completion of the test, one of the cars was placed under lock and key where it remained until the start of the 2000-miles Reliability Trials, several months later. It came out the winner of the R.A.C. Trophy! Parts interchangeability could not have been demonstrated in any more convincing way.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Our suspension is used by Ferrari. And that’s about it. Yay for Cadillac!

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    You know, I don’t like the looks of the CTS, and I’m not in the market, but if I were, that ad would be enough for me to go test drive the car. That is a great ad!

  • avatar
    Jethrow

    Ummm, but I think HSV from Australia had the magnetic ride control back in 2007 – was that before the CTS-V too?


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