Cadillac No Longer Daring Greatly

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

For a brand that probably once caught the eye of Woodrow Wilson, there’s a late adolescent feeling to Cadillac’s current existence that belies its century-long history. Having run away from mom and dad to find itself among the towers of Manhattan, General Motors’ luxury division is heading home for a rest — newly matured, a new mentor in tow, and packing a couple of extra crossovers.

Completing the makeover, Cadillac tossed its “Dare Greatly” tagline in the trash, debuting new messaging during its Oscar night ad campaign. But does the new campaign “Rise Above” the criticisms flung at its predecessor?

Judging by the various Rise Above spots aired by Cadillac last night, the brand sells not a single car model. It makes sense to put your newest and least-doomed products out there for public viewing; after all, there’s still no official plan for the CT6 sedan after January, 2020.

Viewers instead got an eyeful of Escalade, XT5, new XT4, and upcoming XT6 — models that will carry the brand into its utility vehicle-laden future.

“Rise Above” might not be the new “Dare Greatly.” While the tagline accompanied last night’s ads, the brand still hasn’t decided what to move forward with. One that’s for sure is that Dare Greatly’s days are over. The former tagline was the brainchild of former brand marketing director Melody Lee, who left Cadillac last summer. Dare Greatly ads put a young, diverse, urban face on the brand, and Rise Above follows pretty much the same trail.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • DEVILLE88 DEVILLE88 on Feb 26, 2019

    @toddatlas, "the Escalade is a tribute to bad taste"by your deffinition? I happen to like the Escalade and the Suburban for that matter(Denali is redundant to me)who drives them? Limo drivers,company execs that need the room for people and materials, long time Cadillac loyalists. You may not like the don't buy one you still have your BMW and Benzes(that look like everything else on the road)i cant count how many times i've mistaken a Honda Accord for a Bimmer. I and members of my family have owned many Cadillacs throughout the decades. They may be messed up now(and may not recover)But the Escalade is the closest thing to a traditional Cadillac that is available right now(the CT6 sedan as well). Some of us like the comfort of a cruiser that can absorb all the bumps on the road. Not everyone wants their butts beat by the road in a Bimmer or Benz.

  • Dave M. Dave M. on Feb 26, 2019

    I had a 2015 ATS as a loaner for 2 weeks. Pluses: It was fun to fling around and my kid loved the booming bass on the radio. Minuses: no back-up camera or BLS to cure the gunslot windows and huge C-pillars. Can't understand how they feel they can compete with "luxury" makers.

  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Feb 26, 2019

    "Rise" ? Isn't that what the Manson girls wrote on the wall in blood ? I guess enough time has passed...

  • Pb35 Pb35 on Feb 26, 2019

    Late to the party as usual but I feel its necessary to chime in. I purchased (not leased) an '18 Cadillac CTS-V 5 months ago. A week ago yesterday, at 3600mi I started it up on Monday morning to go to work. I was greeted by 3 error messages and a check engine light. The messages were generic, the automotive equivalent of PC load letter (Rear axle system off, Advanced front lighting and Stabilitrak). I put the "gear selector" in D and the car wouldn't move (thank you, electronic shifter). After restarting several times (turning it off and on again) I was able to drive around the block. I returned home, pondering what the rest of my day might look like. I decided to risk it and drive it straight to my local Cadillac store without calling to see if I could get an appointment. When I arrived, the service writer asked if I needed a ride or if my V was a "second car." Sure it is! Take me home and I'll grab the keys to my Urus. Anyway, I told him I didn't need a ride, I needed a car to get to work. Polite but firm. He went and spoke to someone, came back and said he was going to take care of me. It took them about 5 days to get to my car (totally understandable since I didn't have an appointment). I didn't want or expect any special treatment, I just wanted my car fixed. It turned out to be a poorly connected ground strap at the cylinder head. They also had to replace both headlights as there is what appears to be some adhesive residue running down the inside of the lens in streaks. They special ordered 2 headlights and replaced them. This is a common issue that many in the V community complain about. The service writer sent me regular updates via text which I thought was great, I don't know why all makes insist on calling the customer, leaving a message then I have to call back and miss him/her and play phone tag all day. Kudos for that. I got my car back yesterday and it's like new again. I'm pleased as I could be with my first service visit. Now, for my loaner. Don't get me wrong, I am always happy to have a car to drive while my car is in the shop. I use an indie Volvo shop for my wife's 12 year old XC90 and they provide used, clapped out Volvos. My last loaner was a 2003 S60 with 250k on it. Like I said, happy to have a car to get me around. Cadillac provided me with an XT5 with about 4k on it. I was interested to drive one as we've owned the Volvo going on 12 years this year and it's time for her to get something new. I said maybe we would consider this mid-size Cadillac SUV? It was actually "fine" to get around, it was good on gas and seemed to be put together well. The problem is, it did not look or feel special in any way like a Cadillac should. In fact the only thing special about it was that it's a parts bin special. It was completely devoid of any character and there are so many other options to consider in this segment for this money. What the hell do I know though, I saw a ton of them driving around my area while I had it. Driving the XT5 certainly doesn't prompt me to want to check out the XT6. Especially with the same engine? That's a no. I'm eagerly awaiting the upcoming Aviator. Good power, plush interior and concierge service? That's what I'm talking about.

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    • Pb35 Pb35 on Feb 26, 2019

      @FreedMike Yeah, the XT6 is spacious from everything I've read and I'm not necessarily sour on the exterior styling either. I just don't know how that 3.6 is going to drag a larger vehicle than the XT5 around if it was wheezing in that application. My biggest beef with the XT5 was the interior. Not to complain like an old dude (52) but the seats were hard and it was a sea of black throughout. Throw some nice wood trim in there to make it feel a bit more special. I'm not asking for much!