Cadillac’s Poolside ad for the 2015 ELR has been the subject of widespread criticism since it first aired last month during coverage of the Winter Olympics. The commercial generated all kinds of commentary from critics and the public alike, but they weren’t the only ones who were unsure what to think of the it.
Cadillac’s own marketing chief, Uwe Ellinghaus, told Automotive News at the Geneva Motor Show he was not surprised by the strong backlash the spot received. Ellinghaus joined Cadillac in January, when the spot was already in the works, and had been a little concerned the ad would come off as “snobby, arrogant, (and) a little aloof.”
In light of his concerns, Ellinghaus changed the only thing he could at that point, the car which actor Neal Mcdonough enters at the end of the ad. He substituted the existing vehicle with the recently-launched ELR plug-in hybrid coupe. He wouldn’t say which car was originally meant to appear at the end of the ad, but said the change made the commercial “a little more socially palatable.”
The former BMW marketing exec doesn’t think the spot is all bad though. Ellinghaus said he likes it because it is uniquely American, something the Cadillac brand should embrace in order to set it apart from its German rivals. But still, those wondering where the future of Cadillac’s advertising is headed should look beyond Poolside. Ellinghaus said future work will resonate well both in America and in markets where Cadillac hopes to grow, such as Europe and China.
“I am behind it,” Ellinghaus said. “But this is something that I’d never, ever use to build the brand globally.”