In prior statements regarding the future of Cadillac as a brand, marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus made it explicitly clear that he does not want to see Caddy comparing itself to its rivals in its marketing and advertising. However, Ellinghaus also wants the brand to adopt and fully embrace the marketing tactics currently used by rivals such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the pursuit of positioning itself as a legitimate alternative to standard German offerings.
A key aspect of the reinvigorated marketing strategy is Ellinghaus’ efforts to have Cadillac be defined by the strength of its brand and its lineup, rather than relying on cliched phrases such as “American Luxury” to explain its meaning for existence. In a blunt but to the point statement, Ellinghaus revealed that Cadillac needs to be “luxury” but without overtly saying so.
“Firstly, if you need to say that you are luxury then you are not luxury”, he said, further elaborating: “Louis Vuitton does not say they are luxury. They simply are. Secondly it’s not meaningful. We realize that even in the U.S., people don’t understand what makes American luxury different from European luxury”.
It seems that Ellinghaus’ goal is to equip Cadillac with more confidence while also eliminating the “me-too” style of comparisons that defined Cadillac’s prior marketing campaigns. A good example of Ellinghaus’ objective is analogous to stepping into a luxury-oriented shopping mall; the various stores and outfits in the mall usually don’t use the word “luxury”, nor does a specific luxury brand in its advertising. Instead, the “luxury” is boldly showcased in a way that appeals to the eye and does not resort to comparisons with competitors. This not only improves the overall shopping experience, but also creates a more concrete and fluid luxury experience, something that Cadillac needs to embrace if it wants to strengthen its public image.
Ellinghaus says that Cadillac’s new marketing initiative as a whole will be wide ranging, with a consistent message delivered in a variety of media forms including television, print, showroom appearances, online, auto show displays, and events, with the end result being advertising that is bolder, more positive, and captures people’s imaginations in a new and compelling way. The marketing chief also dared his critics to challenge his initiative quipping, “And again like with the nomenclature change, many people will declare me nuts which I am. But the changes at Cadillac are not evidence thereof”.
This sense of confidence along with the recent profusion of activity and changes at Cadillac, is a welcome blast of fresh air into GM’s luxury brand. And with the bold and dynamic Uwe Ellinghaus in charge of Cadillac’s marketing operations, Johan de Nysschen leading the
brand division, and a slew of future new product like the 2016 CT6 flagshsip, Cadillac should emerge from its current transition as a leaner and more confident luxury automaker, Caddy has a golden opportunity at resurrecting itself as a top tier luxury threat to the best from Germany and Japan.