Cadillac just launched one its most pivotal marketing campaigns after emerging from bankruptcy. The new campaign, set in monition on Wednesday, takes direct aim the BMW 3 Series — and thereby the compact luxury vehicle segment as a whole — with Cadillac’s new ATS sedan.
The ATS, which goes on sale in the U.S. in August, will be the smallest and least expensive Cadillac starting at just under $34,000. The small luxury car segment accounts for 60 percent of the luxury car market while also attracting younger customers. The ATS launch will follow that of the larger and more expensive XTS.
The campaign consists of short films, ads, and photography directed by Academy Award-nominated documentary film maker Joe Berlinger, and Jeff Zwart, an acclaimed automotive expert and film maker. Derek Hill, a champion race driver and son of Phil Hill, the only American to win the World Driving Championship, will serve as the driver in the spots while American actor and filmmaker Ross Thomas will host the series, including short films “highlighting aspects of the ATS and the cultures of the locations featured in the challenges.” Launching the campaign will be a two-minute video on YouTube (below) and will be comprised of ten TV ads during the Olympic Games in London, beginning with the opening ceremony on July 27. Dubbed “Cadillac ATS vs. the World”, the campaign features the car being driven in exotic and challenging road settings such as Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, Morocco, Patagonia, or through the hand-carved Guoliang Tunnel in China. Each challenge demonstrates the car’s agility, driving performance and efficient design.
And even though Cadillac officials refused to provide Reuters with figures containing the ATS marketing budget, they did say that it would be comparable to the amount spent for the CTS launch, which saw a $297 million spend in the U.S.
Still, brand image and consumer perceptions are likely the most important advantages in the luxury car market — an asset that usually takes a lengthy amount of time to build and, if need be, overhaul. In Cadillac’s case, the need is for the latter.
During the first half of 2012, the average age of a Cadillac buyer was 58 years old, according to CNW Research. The figure is a full nine years higher than the average age of a BMW buyer but is one year younger than that of a Mercedes customer. Nevertheless, the age of a Cadillac buyer is dropping, as the figure was 63 in 1995.
The ATS is built on an all-new rear-wheel drive platform known internally as Alpha. And even though Cadillac’s small car effort with the Cimarron in the 1980s was a bust, being named to Time magazine’s 50-worst cars ever built list, something tells us that the ATS will be nothing like the Cimarron. In the meantime, check out the trailer for the new campaign:
Stay tuned to GM Authority to see ads that are part of the ATS campaign as well as any and all GM news.
Update: you can now watch all four of the main Cadillac ATS vs. The World spots right here: