There are numerous executives at the forefront of Cadillac’s turnaround, but you could argue that few have a more important role than the brand’s new chief marketing officer, Uwe Ellinghaus. Cadillac has the right products, and it’s the former BMW marketing exec’s job to make the public aware of their existence.
Ellinghaus sat down with The Hollywood Reporter at the Los Angeles auto show to discuss how he plans to improve the brand awareness of Cadillac. The brand has stopped sponsoring events like golf tournaments and has begun to advertise at Hollywood events, fashion shows and other more ritzy gatherings. Ellinghaus says he intends to continue this trend, with plans to host an event at the 2015 Oscar celebrations.
“We will kick off our new brand point of view at the Oscar celebration,” Ellinghaus said. “We will have our own event but will also have in the Oscar show several blocks of media that we bought because we have one of the best audiences that we can have: people that are interested in Hollywood and everything that the lifestyle Hollywood stands for, and I think that’s a natural brand fit for us. So I’m not interested in Super Bowl, I’m far more interested in the Oscars.”
Ellinghaus says Cadillac’s brand image is fine. Nobody thinks of a bad car when you say the name Cadillac. The problem is very few people are saying the name Cadillac at all, especially when it comes to shopping for a new car. The automaker has a plan in place to increase their relevancy through way of greater street presence and new marketing tactics.
“The problem with our brand is we have a relevance issue, as the marketing people call it. People don’t necessarily have a bad image of Cadillac. What we lack is that people say: I want this car. They say, Nice but not for me. And this is something I need to change,” Ellingahus said. “Firstly, I need more street presence of our new cars. Our presence in Detroit, in Dallas- Ft. Worth and some other areas is terrific. But at the coasts, where the luxury market is, you hardly see the ATS and the CTS.”
Ellinghaus acknowledged that improving Cadillac’s relevancy in the eye of consumers will take “many, many years.” It seems the brand’s turnaround will be a bit long-winded, with President Johan de Nysschen also predicting that GM won’t see major improvements in regards to Cadillac until far into the future.