By on February 19, 2015

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Melody Lee may or may not be on the red carpet Sunday, but Teddy Roosevelt’s essence will be felt in one of Cadillac’s Oscars 2015 adverts.

Detroit Free Press reports the advert, called “Dare Greatly,” pulls the famous “Man in the Arena” passage from President Theodore Roosevelt’s 35-page “Citizenship in a Republic” speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, delivered April 23, 1910, though no credit is given to the historic president:

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. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming … who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Aside from the lack of credit, all versions of the advert to be shown during the Oscars telecast offer plenty of views of the brand’s new home of New York, but none of its products. Representative David Caldwell said two other ads will also air Sunday evening, with at least one featuring a Cadillac. The ads are the first created by Publicis Worldwide for the brand; the agency replaced Detroit-based Lowe Campbell Ewald last year.

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47 Comments on “Cadillac’s Oscars 2015 Adverts Channel Teddy, Shows No Product...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I really want to like this ad, but it’s just a little too obscure for me to easily identify what it’s about until the end where it leaves me with the final message…

    “I dare you to buy a Cadillac”

    meh

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      This reminds me of the original Infiniti ads where they show little but rocks and water in a pool. The first time I saw those commercials, I thought: WTF?

      Not quite the same thing here, but not that far away, either.

      • 0 avatar
        cwallace

        That was the first thing I thought of, too. Remember the one where that moody guy made a big fuss out of where the clock was located in the dashboard, since “it’s the one instrument that everyone uses”?

        Guess Cadillac feels as good about their product as Infiniti did with all that odd JDM stuff they had to start off with.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    This Advertisement is code named “The Agony of Da Feet.”

    • 0 avatar
      ttiguy

      Funny thing is, this ad makes me think of someone like you. The ever present critic who never really accomplishes a damn thing.

      And yes Im a caddy fan. I recently purchased a ’14 CTS Vsport and its a fantastic car.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Cadillac can neither make compelling vehicles nor commercials, sadly:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExcavatoRs

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMpZ0TGjbWE

        But you’ll always know what Melody wears to work, yo.

        http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-09-25/what-i-wear-to-work-cadillacs-melody-lee

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    It is the “Really nothing to see here, Folks. Move along.” commercial.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Whatever it is that Cadillac and Lincoln’s ad-men are smoking, I want some.

  • avatar
    redav

    Well, this is evidence that they are pushing “brand” over product.

    I doubt the effectiveness of claiming “daring” over “success.” It’s almost as if the message is it’s better to not have arrived yet, better to still be aspiring to something else. Sure, I get the value of constantly being hungry, but if I ever spend as much money as they want for a car, it sure as hell won’t be a stepping stone to something better–it will be the finale.

  • avatar

    let’s see… jack our prices above market value. alienate current customer base, take what was an indifferent dealer body and turn the relationships hostile, get rid of classic name plates and replace with alpha numerics, and now waste millions on ridiculous ads that don’t even show the product.

    even though the outspoken Mr DeLorenzo is supportive of the new regime, your friendly Buickman thinks this brand is doomed to continued failure to the point which the bankster controlled board will spin it off and walk away with hundreds of millions in investment advice, off to the Hamptons in their BMWs.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I was stupid enough to follow the link to that ad once… and I only know it relates to Caddy because the link came from DW.

    Of course they don’t show a product. With no product to show they may sell one…. but once people see and drive their cars – any chance for a sale are gone (unless heavy discount).

    The only people thinking this is a premium brand are old farts or people who watched nothing than old movies from the glory days. but those people will be alienated by the alphabet soup of “names”.

    And people in NYC take the sub or a cab… so there goes your idea to be close to the customer base.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    My public-television education is so deeply ingrained that whenever anyone says the letters “DW” I can’t help but think of Arthur’s little sister.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I miss the “Cadillac Style” commercials from the late 80’s-early 90’s. Even though the cars were not all that great, that commercial with all the vehicles and their owners being shown kind of halfway made you want to buy one….at least for me. After this era, I can’t think of any Cadillac commercial that is memorable.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “I miss the “Cadillac Style” commercials from the late 80’s-early 90’s.”

      You mean like the duck that goes “Zig”? Yeah, real classics

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Those were different campaigns. The “Cadillac Style” ads were late ’80s or thereabouts, and in keeping with crtfour’s impression, exuded a kind of happy confidence. It may’ve been a hollow and unwarranted happy confidence, but the message was cheerful and clear and included a lot of actual Cadillacs in the ads.

        The duck ads were late ’90s. The early ones did have the redemptive feature of a 31-year-old Cindy Crawford in a minidress and hooker boots.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “Break Through” was an awesome theme that Cadillac should have stuck with & evolved –

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpD7f8gWgDg

      – and was 1 million times better than the muddy, meaningless, boring dribble Cadillac is now going with (wasting vast sums of $$$ on).

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I won’t click the link because of work, but is this the ad campaign where they were blaring Led Zeppelin?

        Those advertisements for the first CTS were awesome. I was a lot younger and impressionable. Back then I wanted a GTO or a CTS.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Yep.

          And Cadillac’s ad agency at the time (Campbell Ewald) was prophetic. It starts out as a “Mad Men” style black & white homage to the 50s Cadillac, with a business suit boarding the subway, and ends with a loud blast of Zeppelin.

          Mary Barra & Mark Reuss were fooled by Johan into thinking Cadillac’s ex-ad agency was the problem.

          Johan strikes again.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            That is the only car ad that I can recount off the top of my head. I remember my father thinking it was cool as hell. It almost tempted him into purchasing a Cadillac for his company vehicle. Instead he purchased a GTP Grand Prix as a Pontiac conveyed a more sensible image to his employees. So that ad sold a Grand Prix and kept Flint North humming a bit longer.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I had never seen that ad before, very cool

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I still like the “Welcome to the World of Gentlemen” ads.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I like that one, as well, even if it’s more subtle.

            I have a friend who is my age, 6’6″, and he had a DTS like the one in the commercial because he comfortably fit in it.

            He can’t fit in an ATS or CTS (nor does he like 4 banger, compact, overpriced vehicles).

  • avatar
    Fred

    Reminds me a bit of the first Infinity ads, except more corny.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Sorry if it sounds sexist, but the speaker in the commercial just didn’t sound convincing to me; imagine if the words were spoken by James Earl Jones, Clint Eastwood or Tom Selleck.

    Anyway, Cadillac has got the errors, shortcomings, and failures covered. Still waiting for the daring victory.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Agreed. All they managed to do was remind me of their poor 90’s products. They in no way made the assertion that the ship has been righted, and unlike some others here, I really like driving some of the current Cadillac sedans. The ad strikes me as well edited, but I would consider the creative concept to be a total failure (as in, does harm.)

      The funny thing is I can’t even wholly blame the ad agency (entirely) for this. Based on Ms. Lee’s previous statements I think it’s fair to say that she went looking for exactly this commercial and they produced it for her, which is somewhat of a reversal of the normal course of things.

      All this no-red-meat, pure brand building stuff has a place in moderation but probably should include at least an image of the product. The dealers will force a change if this continues, of that I am certain. If it gets that far, and I’m not sure if Ms. Lee understands this, they will want her head to roll.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    There are more Ford and Honda products featured in this ad than GM! And the vehicle with the longest air time is… a Camry Hybrid.

    GJ ad people, GJ. At least fill the shots with GM crap if Cadillac crap is not allowed to be shown because mystery.

    NEWER GM crap than an old Blazer and an old Sonoma.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    TR was a progressive Republican, an animal that no longer exists.

    The Oscars are held at a place that used to be called the Kodak Theatre, named for a company that went from being dominant to bankrupt.

    There’s just too much bad symbolism here for one post.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Dude stop being so critical! Cadillac sent me a presentation on LaserDisc, and their reasons for this ad really make good sense.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The quote is from a speech he gave called “Citizenship in a Republic”.

        I actually have the full TR quote hanging outside my office in a frame as a big eff you to my critics that do nothing but pick at the minute of how I might be trying to get things done.

        Here’s the full quote – http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7-it-is-not-the-critic-who-counts-not-the-man

        Unfortunately most of them are too dense to understand.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          In the abstract, it’s a good quote.

          But in light of the insularity and inability to acknowledge mistakes that led the Old GM to fail, I have my doubts that this is the best mantra for the company to follow.

          There are times when critics provide valuable insight. The answer isn’t to ignore all critics, but to know the difference between a good one and a bad one.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            There are two types of critics: Experts in the field who criticize the “work” not “you.” The second type is the irrational who simply criticize “you” and it wouldn’t matter how perfectly the “work” was done.

            Teddy is speaking generally but I’ve always tried to distinguish between them.

            Cadillac should have just ran a commercial with the words “We Love our Haters”.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Well, there’s more to it than that. A lot of the experts failed in their analysis of GM.

            One flaw with expertise: It tends to do well with normal circumstances, but not with crisis or extremes. Crisis management is a different ballgame, but average experts can’t play because they are accustomed to dealing with typical situations, not the outliers.

            Collapse of a major automotive concern is not typical. They were not schooled in handling it. Rick Wagoner was an “expert,” yet this was well beyond him. His predecessor and mentor Jack Smith was widely regarded as a success, when he in fact helped to plant the seeds for failure by creating too much dependency on one kind of product (large US-market pickups.)

            The equity analysts also completely blew it. They bought the management BS about labor costs, while missing the branding and revenue problems that were the essence of the problem. When customers start bailing out and the ones who remain demand unsustainable high discounts, then failure is just a matter of time.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I collected enough box tops to get my presentation through the mail.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I’d probably read a book about the rise and fall of Kodak, if such a thing exists.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    What’s brilliant about the ad is it never shows the Cadillac that failed while daring greatly.

  • avatar
    turf3

    So are they also going to use the Theodore Roosevelt quote about “malefactors of great wealth”?

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    ‘ who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly ‘ – that’s a ‘goodby message’ from Cadillac ? .. they know they gonna fail ?:)

    Whose that sad voice in this video .. Melody Lee’s ? .. I thought she is trendy, creative and .. full of enthusiasm .. :)

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