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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd how does a detroit bound cadillac reclaim its marketing mojo

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]

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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

  • KOKing I car-sat an A32 while its owner was out of the country, and the then whiz-bang VQ motor was great, but the rest of it wasn't any better than a XV10 or XV20. Definitely the start of its downward slide, unfortunately.
  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.