Cadillac’s “Dare Greatly” campaign debuted to a lot of buzz during the Oscars earlier this year. Some thought it was a great message to display about the historic American luxury brand, others thought it emphasized the wrong idea. Us here happen to like the message “Dare Greatly” sends, but Marketing Daily sat down with Cadillac Marketing Chief, Uwe Ellinghaus, to get a better grasp on what he means when the brand is daring greatly.
Ellinghaus echoes what we’ve been hearing for some time: Cadillac isn’t trying to be a German copy-cat (despite the controversial naming scheme) and wants a distinct American aura around the brand. The campaign has been designed to showcase Cadillac’s willingness to risk, and risk big. Ellinghaus thinks approach marries well with Cadillac’s heritage and history.
Everyone has already recognized Cadillac has the product, but it has lacked a coherent message to convey what the brand stands for. And that’s where “Dare Greatly” comes in. Ellinghaus dispels that it isn’t just about top-notch product. It’s also about more than that.
“This is what car guys sometimes don’t understand: luxury brands sell more than the product. They sell a dream.”
That’s a bold statement, but he’s right. Once upon a time, owning a Cadillac meant you made it. Over the years, it didn’t mean much. That accolade has been bestowed upon the Germans. Cadillac wants it back. Badly.
Ellinghaus also defends the position to feature people like Steve Wozniak, noting they are not brand ambassadors. They’re simply individuals who embody what Cadillac is in the process of carrying out. Great risk equates to great reward, right?
He also fires shots at a certain other Detroit automaker for employing brand ambassadors, which he says is exactly what Cadillac will avoid:
There’s a famous competitor in Detroit using a Hollywood celebrity. This is exactly what we don’t want. Yes, we are just featuring people, but people who dare greatly. We aren’t showing them driving our cars. We are talking about them, what they have achieved and how [they have done so]. Like [New York-based fashion designer for the likes of Michelle Obama] Jason Wu said, his mother let him play with dolls, and from there he becomes a huge hit in fashion. They are just people who embody this daring spirit, and I like that we are not saying they are Cadillac customers. These are not testimonials.
It’s good insight from the man tasked with creating the greatest brand awareness Cadillac has ever seen. This time it’s not just about the value proposition, it’s about selling the American dream all over. Cadillac hopes to be a name associated with great risk and reward. Over time, we think they’ll get there.