By on January 8, 2013

We’ve taken a fair number of potshots at the General lately, but some times the company and its ad agencies get it right. Watch this and tell me you don’t kind of want a DTS at the end of it….

The truly great thing about this ad, and it almost never happens in Cadillac advertising or even American-car-company advertising, is this: there’s no competitive-comparison garbage. While the DTS may well have had an advantage in skidpad g or trunk space over the Lexus LS430, we never hear about it here. Instead, we see eight pretty cool guys enjoying their Cadillacs. The car is presented as aspirational in and of itself. How rare that is! Of course, Mercedes-Benz does it all the time, as do other genuinely aspirational products. I’ve never seen an advertisement for the Gibson Les Paul that bothered to mention those “Agile” imitation slabs from Korea, but somewhere along the line the domestics panicked and started trying to win people over based on comparison charts. The endless “Pontiac Grand Prix Has Four More Ribs Than The BMW M6” garbage foisted on Americans over the years cheapened all the brands to the point where something like this just feels breathtaking and exciting.

If only Cadillac had bothered to make the product to stand behind an advertisement like this. Can you imagine how effective it would have been applied to brand-new take on the long-discontinued LT1 Fleetwood? Welcome to the world of gentlemen, indeed.

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55 Comments on “Truly Great Moments In GM Advertising: The DTS Visits A Diner...”

  • avatar

    Welcome to the world of gentlemen. You, too, will soon be wearing your belts high above your navels.

  • avatar

    Jack, you are on the money with the benefits of aspirational advertising. I’m not sure this particular commercial resulted from any insight or inspiration at The General. more than likely it is a case of the blind cat catching a dead mouse. random shootings will occasionally hit a target eh?

  • avatar

    Gibson runs television ads, now?

  • avatar

    The ad is more fun with the sound off, so you can add your own dialogue:

    Driver 1: “So, you inherited your grandfather’s car, too?
    Driver 2: “No, we just stopped for lunch before we go back to the funeral parlor.”

    The DTS is what all young hip males aspire to these days. Sure, uh-huh.

  • avatar

    Gentleman at a no-class diner. I’ll have spaghetti and coffee. Actually I like the ad – maybe I’ll look at a Cadillac next time.

  • avatar

    Good luxury ads are high-involvement + emotional. Rationality doesn’t fit well with aspirational marketing.

    All great luxury themes never discuss feature set, market comparisons, nor price point. That’s the exact opposite of a mass market car ad. The test of a strong luxury brand is whether you can sell your product without ANY discounting, i.e. Louis Vuitton, Apple, Ferrari, or Rolex.

    BTW Jack, my favorite GM ad of all time is still the DTS “New Job”.

  • avatar

    So, from this I can safely infer that “gentlemen” of that era prefer inferior build quality and handling that most closely resembles greased jello on a hot platter?

  • avatar

    Interestingly, when the DTS went through it’s last styling refresh, it popped back onto my radar has a somewhat aspirational daily cruiser. They’re nice cars, but don’t hit enough of my buttons like a Hemi Chrysler LX car does.

    • 0 avatar

      Are you talking about the styling or the engine choices? I’d take a 5.2 Hemi over a 4.6 Northstar too, but the LX high beltline and small greenhouse is a turnoff to me. The DTS was nearly the last of the luxury freeway cruisers that didn’t have its ass sticking up in the air. I actually like seeing out the back window, so I prefer trunk lids no higher than the hood. When Triumph did its ’60s wedge ad, calling it “the shape of things to come”, they were unfortunately correct.

      • 0 avatar

        Between the two, I’m styling and functionally neutral, I tihnk they’re both fine looking cars. While I agree the DTS has better visibility, I don’t find it to be a problem in the LX cars.

        What does it for me in the LX cars is the performance. The powertrain and handling are so much more exciting than the DTS, it’s just no contest.

        I really liked the last generation STS, but the added Northstar nonsense is a turnoff and resale killer. While I’m sure they had sorted out their issues, I just can’t get over the early days of pulling them out to reseal block halves and re-thread the head bolt holes.

        To me the only true GM competition to the LX/LD sedans was the G8 GT/GXp, but we know how that went. Perhaps the SS sedan will fill the void.

      • 0 avatar

        Northstar powered Cadillacs… One per lifetime was enough for me!

  • avatar

    I really liked this ad when it came out, and was surprised that it was just kind of a one-off. Its release may have coincided too closely with the rise of the stunted man-child in our culture, who is putting off being a man for as long as possible, to say nothing of being a gentleman. Thank you Judd Apatow, Spike TV and “ultimate fighting” for making this cultural decline possible.

    I’ve been looking for a new car for a while- Mr. Wallace’s Car. The way things are going, the DTS may have been the last car that could fit that description, at once commanding a little dignified presence in the company parking lot while being different from the default German choice.

  • avatar

    That is one great ad. Never saw it live. So much better than anything Morpheus currently narrates, or the “ATS Around the World” BS, for that matter, particularly when the guy yells “It’s like the APOCALYPSE out there!”…when it just ISN’T. It’s a clear, sunny day. Make SENSE, damn commercial!

  • avatar

    Put some Florida plates on those cars, dial up the years on those gentleman to about 80, shod them in depends, some leaning on canes or using walkers, getting into a shouting match about who gets the last handicap parking spot at the Golden Corral for the 4 p.m. early bird special, and you’ve got comedy gold.

  • avatar

    I thought it sort of looked like a few hoods happened upon each other at the same diner and they’re sniffing each other’s butts. Not particularly appealing. And then they judge each other on their rides? Ugh.

  • avatar

    Too many questions…

    Is this a new car, or an ad from 10 years ago?

    Is the Caddy in question a front wheel drive? Rear wheel drive? AWD? Does it even matter?

    …why no vynil roof? I’ve yet to see one without that ugly accessory.

    Is that the Big Kahuna Burger joint, and are we about to have a Tarantino moment?

    • 0 avatar

      -I would date it to 2006 or 2007. “DTS” replaced “Deville” for the 2006 model year although the basic car didn’t change much except cosmetically.

      -The model in question is FWD.

      -Probably because many of those were installed by the dealer, I’m not even sure the factory was still offering them at that point.

      -No idea

    • 0 avatar


  • avatar

    Having several rental DTS sleds through the years I will say this. Equipped with everything, magnetic ride control, navigation, heated/cooled seats, etc. etc. etc. the cars was nice – but at sticker price was not competitive. I was told by rear seat passengers that two boards nailed together would have been more comfortable than the seat, but that leg room and head room was good. The trunk was definitely mafia approved.

    Now on the other hand driving one stripped, specifically without the magnetic ride control – BLECH. What a steaming pile of rental spec crap.

    So to answer the question – no – it does not make me want to go out and buy a DTS.

    • 0 avatar

      I always thought the DTS had a more plush ride without the MagneRide suspension, but it was the maple syrup infused & absolutely dead numb on center (or anything within 12 degrees left or right of center) steering that killed any last prospect of the DTS being an even remotely viable option for me during my brief consideration of it as a daily sled.

  • avatar

    This ad has Mafia-Sopranos overtones which I’m sure are intentional and tongue-in-cheek. It’s almost like the older guys are congratulating the younger ones on being “made”. The New Jersey-esque diner is a dead giveaway.

    APaGttH mentioned the “Mafia-approved” trunk, I think the ad agency was running with the stereotype. I doubt the GM marketing folk got it.

    • 0 avatar

      Robert Farago described the trunk in such a manner in a review of this very car back in 2006 or thereabout.

      Just sayin’.

      • 0 avatar

        Props to Farago, then, for the amusing coinage.

        Re: mafiosi and Cadillac trunks, I think GoodFellas came out in 1989 if you want to go back further. I can’t think of an earlier pop-culture reference than that…

  • avatar

    The restaurant is Dinah’s, near Sony Pictures in Culver City. Some of the best fried chicken in Los Angeles. I used to meet Sony Pics’ CIO there for informal breakfast or lunch meetings. I’d also slink over there after meetings as a guilty pleasure. They recently opened a BBQ joint further north on Sepulveda Blvd. Different name though.

    As a Michigan guy living in SoCal, now that I am married with two kids, I’ve considered buying the CTS wagon. Maybe even the CTS-V wagon.

    Guys that visit this type of diner are grounded enough to forgo hipster lunch joints and obligatory German sleds.

    EDIT: grounded = buying Cadillac over BMW…..First World problems!

    • 0 avatar

      Dinah’s Family Restaurant is technically in LA, I believe, although that area borders Culver City. The BBQ place was called Crossroads BBQ and is near Sepulveda and National just south of the 10, but last I heard it was closed, not sure if for renovations or for good. There was also a Mexican place attached to Crossroads next door.

      Also, there’s Dinah’s Chicken, which is on San Fernando in Glendale. It uses the same trademarks, but I believe what happened is that some golfing buddies independently opened several restaurants back in the day after jointly coming up with the concept. The one near Culver City was opened as more of a diner/coffeeshop (and is still run by his step-grandson), whereas the other golfing buddies each opened fried chicken shacks. The others have all closed except for the one in Glendale. I’m not sure if the two remaining families are still on friendly terms, to be honest.

  • avatar

    When I see four guys in suits getting out of a DTS, I think “there’s either a body in the trunk, or they are going to PUT a body in that trunk”. No other reason for anyone under 75 to own one of these cars.

    S-class: Yakuza. BMW 7 series: French baddie. A8: Transporter/Ronin.

    If you want to avoid all of that, you’re pretty much left with the Jag and the Maserati.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m 65 and I love my 09 DTS, great highway cruiser and 28mpg hwy, which is why I bought it. Have zero desire for premium European high maintainance iron. Haven’t had a problem with mine.

  • avatar

    My favorite Cadillac ad in recent times is “Moments,” because they have delivered on what they promised in the ad:

    Also, for some good old, ’80s yuppie pride, there’s the “Cadillac Style” campaign of the late ’80s:

  • avatar

    This was truly a great car. All of the 1990s-2011 DeVille/DTS were REAL Cadillacs in my mind. The only real ones now are the Escalade and the Escalade ESV.

  • avatar

    I have a loaded DTS for work, i think its a 2012, last model year. I have several comments about it, but I can tell u that one ARRIVES in it. It def has presence. Also, I find the back seats really comfortable, fall asleep comfortable, and nice n roomy. Driving it is a mixed bag. It is no sports cruiser. However it is tomb quiet, superb Bose sound system, east to drive fast, did i mention quiet? and drive all day comfortable front seats. Overall I am impressed. There are a lot of knobs for things rather then seven level screen pushes (thank god).. I might buy one of these used just for that! We just bought a new XTS too, more gadgets, some good like backup camera and heads up speed indicator, some definitely bad like no knobs!!!! and a mail slot trunk opening. Also its a lot narrower (no more three across anywhere) and taller, bathtub like seating.

    So do gentlemen arrive in this? I would say yes, for no other reason then to differentiate themselves from the ocean of overpriced Mercedes and Lexii at the club.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey jerseydevil,

      Long time NJ guy here(not any more, I escaped).
      Love my DTS also, my earlier comments echo your thoughts. To drive a car this luxurious and heavy and get 28mpg hwy is stupid good.

      Hooray hockey is back. “Lets Go Rangers”

    • 0 avatar


      I admit that I had pondered buying a mint, used DTS with the Luxury I package hard. It was a 2008, with black exterior and interior, was driven by a 60+ year old, serviced religiously at the Caddy dealership, and only had 18,000 miles on it.

      Things I liked about it:

      1) Plush ride (the last Cadillac made with a truly plush ride worthy of the name.
      2) Throaty V8 exhaust note. Some would claim this isn’t fitting of a luxury cruiser, but somehow, it works, and works quite well.
      3) Lots of interior space to chillax, both in the front and rear.
      4) Exterior. I love the black DTS with the big egg crate grille. It looks masculine.
      5) Front wheel drive, which means I could use decent all seasons year round, even in Michigan snow during the winter, unlike some RWD competitors.
      6) Quiet and safe.
      6) Could have bought it as a certified no-accident, one owner, low mileage vehicle for 18k in late 2011/early 2012 (it had an original sticker of well over 50k).

      Things I didn’t like or may not have liked:

      1) Interior bits and pieces weren’t up to premium car standards.
      2) 4 speed transmission. It may be a smooth transmission, but no 5th or 6th gear really hurts highway fuel economy.
      3) Steering was sloppy and is typical of the breed.
      4) The well known head gasket bolt thread issue; it’s never been established with any degree of certainty that GM ever truly resolved this truly big problem even in the last production run of the 4.6 Northstar (many of the 2008 to 2012s are low mileage, and these problems won’t show up for a while). Once this problem affects one of the motors, it’s a royal pain in the ass and massive expense to deal with.

  • avatar

    I did like the 2006-2011 DTS (last of the Devilles) but still fear the Northstar.

    Lots of room, good sight lines, enormous trunk and rear seat. But the Northstar still makes me hesitate.

    IMHO, GM needs more commercials like this one though.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe someone will develop a kit to drop in a 3800 to replace it, I’ve heard rumors this has been done on 90s Caddies.

      • 0 avatar

        If you really want a V6 K-platform (which is what the DTS was) you can always buy a used Buick Lucerne. It was powered by the 3800 in base form.

        Actually the Buick Lucerne (which was built on the same platform) was powered by the 3.9V6 engine toward the end of its life. The only thing that confused me was how the 3.9 could be rated at 240hp in an Impala LTZ but rated for 190 hp in a Lucerne of the same model year. I wonder if it was just a difference in the computer chip?

        If it was, Lucerne here I come! (It’s easier to swap a chip than swap an engine.)

      • 0 avatar

        Dan, the Lucerne CXS IS the DTS with the same MagneRide suspension as the DTS Performance (as I’m sure you know), and the same 4.6 liter Northstar, built in the same factory as the DTS.

        And I never understood the same discrepancy between the 3.9 liter as used in the Lucerne for a brief period and the Impala LTZ as you rightfully point out.

        For purely reliability reasons, the 3800 Series V6 would be the way to go, but then again, it’s pretty anemic, and not exactly fuel efficient given the 4 speed automatic it was paired with.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes but the Lucerne WAS available with a V6 that the DTS was not. If they had given the Lucerne the 240hp 3.9V6 from the factory, there would have been little reason to have the Northstar with only 35 more hp.

      • 0 avatar

        I absolutely agree with you.

        The only issue is whether the 3.9 liter is as reliable as the 3800 series (I don’t know, but you probably are well versed on this).

        240 horsepower would have been enough of a horsepower bump from the 190hp 3800 to make the Northstar equipped CXS (and Super) moot (and eliminate the head bolt thread worries).

      • 0 avatar

        Dan, how did you discover the Lucerne had a 190 hp 3900 V6? The sources I read (Edmunds, The Car Connection, Wikipedia) say that 2009+ models had a 227 hp 3900 V6 with 237 ft-lb @ 3200 rpm. The Impala produced 233 hp with 240 ft-lb @ 4000 rpm.

        Wikipedia says there were four different 3900s, varying in cylinder deactivation, tune and flex-fuel capability. I assume they also differed in tune and torque peak.

      • 0 avatar

        @potatobreath, I’ve seen the ratings all over the map too. Most of the time when I find a Lucerne with the 3.9 listed for sale online and the dealer happens to mention power, the 190hp figure is what I usually see. Although dealers may be confusing it with the 190hp 3800 just because the 3.9 was 2009-2010 only for the Lucerne.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Great ad Jack and another positive contribution to your GM oeuvre.

    I ordered my DTS at 43 years-old. It was the last thing I would have expected, but in 2007 and after driving Audi Q7 3.6; Cadillac DTS Lux III, Performance; SRX Northstar; STS 3.6 SIDI; Mercedes-Benz C300, E320 Bluetec, R320 CDI; Saab 9-7x; and, Saturn Sky, the DTS Lux III was the best compromise for me.

    I already have a RWD Impala SS, and a RWD Tahoe PPV, so I really didn’t need a performance sedan or an SUV, and somedays the Tahoe just rides too rough for my middle-aged bones. The DTS Lux III was the quietest, and for me was the most comfortable, one to drive. It felt like putting on and old leather jacket.

    It’s completely great driving at any legal speed limits. But at anything faster I prefer RWD.

  • avatar

    They REALLY need to bring back the “Cadillac Style” jingle…

  • avatar

    My 37 year old younger brother drives one and loves it. some mechanical issues but the price is dirt cheap i think like $18k for a 2007 or so a few years ago super low miles. decent navigation (at the time) and AIR CONDITIONED seats. nice rear seat room. It aint no towncar (but it drives sportier and has good power).

    I liked the older cushier model from before. I drove escalades and when they were (always) broken i would get a Soprano Deville loaner and tool around. loved the older model super super plush and QUICK.

    I drove a 1992 towncar at 29 yrs old with whorehouse red carpet, dash, matching seatbelts and WHITE leather. AND black cherry paint. I bought it bec it was $12k and PERFECT condition (owned by Dr. Stone before me) and i thought it would fun. EVERYONE loved it. I miss it.

    26mpg hwy. why drive an appliance?

  • avatar

    I bought one of these last year, a red/shale 2008 DTS Performance model with about 27,000 miles. I’ve liked these ever since they changed the body in 2006 and kept my eye out for a performance model since I’m drawn to the body-colored grill and the performance-model wheels.

    This one had to be one of the most loaded up examples built and I have to say I enjoyed driving it. The only time it felt squirrelly was when floored at at low speed and torque steer would raise it’s ugly head.

    It has about 48,000 miles on it now and so far I’ve just had to replace one MagneRide shock absorber (leak). No issues from the Northstar, same story as my 2001 Eldorado with the Northstar.

    I just picked up a 2009 SRX Sport with the Northstar as well…hopefully the no-failure theme will continue.

  • avatar

    Well I’m 31 and I’m on my second DTS. First one was when I was 29 and it was a 2006 Lux II. Now I have a Performance sedan.

    The regular sedan is serviceable but try and drive it aggressively and you’ll find out fast that the suspension is comically soft. With the Magneride its pretty much canceled out but the Performance sedan uses the same coil springs as any regular DTS so they are still to soft and you can sometimes feel it. Magneride should’ve been standard as far as I’m concerned.

    After driving my L37 drive line for a while now I’d rather a LD8. Sure the acceleration is good but the 3.71 axle ratio means your sucking down fuel at 70+ MPH. The LD8’s 3.11 is a good compromise. If I keep mine I may try to see if I can stick a 3.11 in the trans and program it, tuning options are available for 2006+ DTS.

    So far a lot of discussion here about the 2006+ N* are worried about headbolts losing their clamping force well don’t. Since 2004 GM has made some changes to thread pitch and design so its pretty much solved that problem. But that’s not to say that there aren’t any issues.

    This motor still leaks like many of the late 90s N*’s. The main culprits are the valve cover or the more labor intensive half case seal. The coolant crossover will probably start to leak as well. But other then that oil consumption isn’t a problem if you rev 6000 a few times and its easy to change the oil. Both of my DTS’s suffered from leaks and one popped the crossover gasket.

    The 4T80E is a great transmission. Downshifts promptly and for this generation I don’t hear of the dreaded P0174 happening (look it up, $50 part in $2000 of labor).

    Its a nice car but for those that go for the performance sedan be prepared to get just over 300 miles to a tank of gas. My lowest recorded MPG was 13. I average 17 to 19 MPG mixed road commute. Just get a certified one and enjoy being isolated from the world but if you looking for handling even in “Performance” trim you ain’t gonna find it here…

    I’m thinking of getting a CTS wagon or Hyundai Genesis 3.8 sedan for my replacement.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s pretty awful fuel economy given that it has a…20 gallon tank?

      I was under the impression that the head bolts AND the threads were the problem with the Northstar, given the head bolt tendency to expand and contract under extreme pressure (along with expansion and contraction of the block, which could result in cracks there, also), and given that the threads are not nearly aggressive enough to keep said head bolts from “backing out” with enough heat & time?

      From what I have been able to discern, no one has credibly made the case that GM really did ever fix this issue, as of 2004 or any later year, and a virtual cottage industry has sprung up to stud the bolts as an expensive method of attempted prevention to stave off what is a monumentally expensive disease. It’s also my understanding that overheating conditions (suffered even once) exponentially increase the possibility that the head bolt/thread issue will occur, resulting in a gasket failure.

      Have you driven the Genesis Sedan? I’ve driven the 2012 model year with the “revised suspension” one that Hyundai claimed resolved the criticism regarding the suspension’s shortcomings, and the end result did not impress me, to say the least. I can honestly say that Genny Sedan has one of the worst suspensions of any luxury or near luxury car I’ve ever driven, bar none.

      • 0 avatar

        18.5 Gallon. With the LD8 275 HP N* you can touch reasonable MPG’s mid 20s. The 2005 and older N* get far better MPG and I’ve verified this with 2002 & 2003 Deville loaners I’ve gotten. And for some reason GM states the 91 is recommended, the 2000-2005s could run with 87.

        I don’t know what to tell you other then if you go to the biggest Cadillac forum you’ll see a thread that would take you half a day to read from various people involved in the cottage industry to the people whom rely on GM to get paid fixing them.

        The headbolt design was changed in fact it was changed a few times by GM. Numerous people have cited that the latest headbolt design is good and that the clamping force is good. There is a guy that makes Studs for the N* and even he said they are sufficient. The main years for this problem headbolt/head gasket problem is 1997-2003. And not all of them do it either which further throws a wrench into the works. Some have claimed hundreds of thousands of miles.

        If I had to guess a cause Dex coolant being in the system to long and the cars not being driven hard enough. Also some motors were cast very poorly and some have stated that this can lead to the motor being porous and causing issues.

        I got over 120k miles logged on 2 2006 DTS’s your more likely to see the coolant crossover leak then see you headbolts go. Yes it is a PITA to fix on these cars cause you have to take the motor out to fix. But once you fix it your not touching it again and I’m confident that you don’t need to worry about doing it on a 2006+ but anything is possible.

        Thanks for the info on the Genesis, I’ll need to drive one to see if its worth moving to. I like what I see and its almost comparable to the DTS in terms of equipment and the base 3.8 is more then adequate. I know from what I’ve read Hyundai keeps changing the suspension tuning.

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