QOTD: How Does a Detroit-bound Cadillac Reclaim Its Marketing Mojo?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

As you read yesterday, Cadillac’s had its fun in New York City and is returning home to the Detroit metro area. Warren, specifically. It probably wouldn’t be fair to say it was chewed up and spit out like a naive bumpkin who travels to the big city, only to suffer the horrifying aftermath of decadence and experimentation. This isn’t Midnight Cowboy.

Nor can we say, without access to some internal info, that is was raging success. The brand remains a work in progress. There’s vehicles on the way that likely still would have been on the way had former brand president Johan de Nysschen, et al, stayed in Detroit. Does the name “Cadillac” ring with a more appealing timbre among the tony enclaves of coastal America? Doubtful.

Let’s assume for a minute that the Greyhound bus carrying Cadillac just pulled into the station, a cold rain falling over the terminal. How does the brand let its friends know it’s back in town?

We’ve talked about product and naming before. Many of you want to see Cadillac’s alphanumeric monikers fade away like a bad dream, while others wish to see the glory days of lengthy, pillarless brougham barges and deep-pile personal luxury coupes return to the American auto landscape. Oh wait, that’s me. (Hey, there could be an electric motor coupled to that 500 cubic inch big block… and stop/start.)

As we’ve covered that ground, and because Caddy’s product pipeline — at least for the near term — appears set in stone, we’re left with marketing as a method of telegraphing Caddy’s Midwestern return. Suffice it to say there’s been marketing misfires in the past.

What would you like to see? Fewer Escalades piloted by lone overachievers prowling the perpetually shaded streets of Manhattan? Perhaps something cerebral and avante garde, a la Lincoln?

Marketing comes down to a message. A tagline, or a description of an ideal, backed up by imagery, that stirs desire in the viewer’s psyche. Cadillac’s recent ads ( peruse them here) leave this viewer feeling cold. Maybe it’s the narrator, whose voice conjures up images of a 31-year-old Northeastern-educated Millennial who thinks present-day late night hosts have never been funnier. Frankly, he reminds me of Colin Yost from SNL, a man whose face couldn’t be more punchable.

There’s something weirdly sterile about these ads. And grating, too, despite all vehicle marketing being, in some form or another, braggadocious.

Well, B&B, you’ve just been promoted to head of marketing, and the company you’ve hired is prepared to follow your orders down to the letter. Your aim: to make viewers feel Cadillac. All of it. The past, the future, and the now. What do these viewers need to see and feel in order to not change the channel?

[Image: Cadillac/YouTube]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Oct 01, 2018

    Could you argue, that since most regular folks don't really care about handling and ring times and that trying to out BMW BMW is a fools errand unless you are in it for the really long game because of branding, that maybe it is time to begin building cars that prioritize isolating the driver from the world around them and priortize comfort over skidpad and 0-60 times? Hit em' where they aint. I would argue that the world is ready for a modern "Brougham"

  • Volvo Volvo on Oct 01, 2018

    Unfortunately Art Cadillac would be trying to out the Avalon which also would be a really long game

  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.
  • Lou_BC "That’s expensive for a midsize pickup" All of the "offroad" midsize trucks fall in that 65k USD range. The ZR2 is probably the cheapest ( without Bison option).
  • Lou_BC There are a few in my town. They come out on sunny days. I'd rather spend $29k on a square body Chevy
  • Lou_BC I had a 2010 Ford F150 and 2010 Toyota Sienna. The F150 went through 3 sets of brakes and Sienna 2 sets. Similar mileage and 10 year span.4 sets tires on F150. Truck needed a set of rear shocks and front axle seals. The solenoid in the T-case was replaced under warranty. I replaced a "blend door motor" on heater. Sienna needed a water pump and heater blower both on warranty. One TSB then recall on spare tire cable. Has a limp mode due to an engine sensor failure. At 11 years old I had to replace clutch pack in rear diff F150. My ZR2 diesel at 55,000 km. Needs new tires. Duratrac's worn and chewed up. Needed front end alignment (1st time ever on any truck I've owned).Rear brakes worn out. Left pads were to metal. Chevy rear brakes don't like offroad. Weird "inside out" dents in a few spots rear fenders. Typically GM can't really build an offroad truck issue. They won't warranty. Has fender-well liners. Tore off one rear shock protector. Was cheaper to order from GM warehouse through parts supplier than through Chevy dealer. Lots of squeaks and rattles. Infotainment has crashed a few times. Seat heater modual was on recall. One of those post sale retrofit.Local dealer is horrific. If my son can't service or repair it, I'll drive 120 km to the next town. 1st and last Chevy. Love the drivetrain and suspension. Fit and finish mediocre. Dealer sucks.
  • MaintenanceCosts You expect everything on Amazon and eBay to be fake, but it's a shame to see fake stuff on Summit Racing. Glad they pulled it.