As we’ve documented quite comprehensively, Cadillac is still strategizing a brand rebirth to boost relevance in the minds of (especially American) consumers. Recently, the automaker even “blanked-out” all its social media profiles to prime the public for their bold, dramatic second coming.
More recently, Cadillac uploaded an advertisement to YouTube which features precisely no Cadillac cars (save for the side mirror of one, pictured above). What the internet spot does feature is several lines from one of our greatest presidents’ great speeches: one known as “The Man In The Arena,” delivered by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910.
The folks at brandchannel sat down with Cadillac Chief Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus to pick his brain in regards to the new brand direction.
“We want to resurrect the Cadillac brand and bring it back to greatness,” the CMO told brandchannel. “You can’t just put product—even great product, which we have—in front of people. If the brand isn’t relevant, people don’t care.”
That calls to mind this question: What kind of relevance is the Cadillac brand trying for? Johan de Nysschen is on the record as previously having stated that they should be “a luxury brand that just happens to sell cars.”
Mr. Ellinghaus explains things a bit differently: “We won’t ‘outdo’ luxury; we won’t use ‘attention to detail’ and other craftsmanship cliches,” he says. “‘Luxury’ is associated with European brands more than with American brands… We want to ‘outwit’ luxury, to dare greatly and create interplay among the brand values of boldness, sophistication and optimism, and yet be inviting and approachable.”
Of course, Cadillac has tried to reposition itself before. So how will this time be different? Says Ellinghaus: “This is a reinvention, not just a repositioning. And it’s a product renaissance as well. So we have the right to say we are ‘daring greatly’ ourselves. This is not just a ‘campaign.’
“We want people to say, ‘Look how much Cadillac has changed.’ And we will get some criticism.”