Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus Wants To Take Luxury Brand To An Aspirational Level19
Luxury branding is a tricky business, but Cadillac Chief Marketing Officer, Uwe Ellinghaus, understands that. Although many may not have the means to purchase a luxury product, it’s a certain affinity and aspiration a brand must build in order for the elite to invest in its equity.
That can’t be anymore well put than with Ellinghaus’ latest comments on Cadillac branding during a recent interview with AdExchanger.
Through the interview, Ellinghaus makes it evident he and Cadillac President, Johan De Nysschen, are adamant to arouse a distinct American aura when the word “Cadillac” is spoken.
“We will not out-German the Germans. Our strategy is not to emulate what the Germans do. Yes, they make terrific cars, but we are a contemporary American brand and want to increase our relevance. We want the brand to appeal to the entrepreneurial spirit because the old corporate world has no appeal to Generation Y, this idea of taking your destiny into your own hands. Cadillac needs to show that we share the same spirit and mindset of a new generation, not the Cadillac of two decades ago.”
Ellinghaus also remarked Cadillac must start selling dreams, with products “merely the means to get there.”
“It is about fueling aspirational desire even for people without the means to ever buy your product,” he added.
Cadillac’s marketing and branding strategy is in it for the long haul, with major investments being sunk into the fashion world as the luxury brand looks for a new consumer base to propel itself well into the future.
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
Cadillac knows how to make better cars than all, included Germans.
Simply; should make it
Not only “Cadillac must start selling dreams” but all GM brands.
this luxury story is funny. what is luxury. US talks many this story of luxury and luxury. gm talks cadillac and buick is luxury brand. what mean luxury brand. wv or skoda or ford is luxury brand or not. bmw-audi-mb-lexus …… is luxury or not or what. all car brands made luxury additional equipment. gm must made just better and better cars like all others brands wants made to like audi-bmw- mb wants better and better.. gm must to same but made first. gm is slow to
old audi s8+
gm is slowly and talk talk much.
but OK GM doing better today and thats good. i hope that gm goes better and better and GM is smart. good luck gm and cadillac
is this luxury or not or what
Cadillac should sell dream cars witch means cars that look new and exotic like the Elmeraj and be higher in comfort and V8 engine power….not boring old Art and Science that looks 10+ years old with 4 bangers….and should be sooner rather than later.
I agreed until the second sentence. Art and Science never looks boring. You obviously liked Art and Science since you like the Elmiraj. What kind of styling cues would you suggest?
Once again you guys are going to be ready to thumbs down my post, but I’ll state my suggestions:
First off, Cadillac needs to take most of their marketing budget and get it away from the fashion industry. As I’ve stated a while back, Cadillac’s marketing strategy will only appeal to a very small subset of people who, quite frankly, don’t set the trends for the next generation. The fashion industry today doesn’t wield the power today that it used to, nor does it conjure up the same image. Heck, even as a millennial myself, when I think of the fashion industry, skinny pretty women strutting across the catwalk in weird clothes designed by weird people in front of a weird audience (maybe including Kanye West) is what comes to mind.
Here’s two top-rated comment from an XT5 reveal preview seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njN901uaiA0
“Would like to really see it. Nothing gained from the video except artsy-timberlakesques dudes walking around thinking they are cool. Didn’t appeal to me. I’d like to see an redesigned SRX, lengthened some and a 3rd row seat option available. That is the same vehicle hasn’t changed since ’07. Like an Acadia Denali.”
“This is a very anticipated car, why not show it? Showing some guys walking through a school is a waste of time and money. I cannot wait to see the car. If this is a teaser, that is why GM is in trouble with its sales, the ad agencies are idiots.”
Artsy isn’t a complement among millennials, it’s an insult. Either Ellinghaus is ‘artsy’, or their ad agency is artsy, being artsy will not win the next generation of luxury buyers.
*Picks up the flame-shield*
Cadillac needs to return to marketing through hip-hop, especially in lyrics. Why? Because hip-hop sets the trend in American culture. It’s not relegated to a single demographic. Why not? You can find almost every luxury automaker being mentioned in today’s rap music. However, the Cadillac name-dropping can’t be limited to the Escalade, they need to mention EVERY model.
Go ahead, come at me with criticism, but present another viable alternative to the New York fashion BS nobody cares about.
I will back you up. The fashion deal, PGA golf and other things like this really to me do not really sell cars or even image.
Funny but what does sell is Celebrities, Jocks and Rappers in Escalades. These folks have cast an image on the vehicle that has crossed many lines and added many sales.
I really think Cadillac should focus on their performance not only in numbers but quality and put these cars into the hands of people that put image on to a brand. Even if you give these cars out but get them to high profile people and let them be seen in them.
I think many here will agree the fashion deal is a dead end for the most part. You get superficial people like Kardashian, Paris Hilton or even a loud Donald Trump driving your cars and people pay attention to this today. For the most part even in the fashion field many people wear what they wear as someone famous wears the same thing be it a designer dress or Football Jersey.
I hate Kardashians and the like but people follow them Oprah and others like a religion and many of the folks have the money to do the same.
But most important is the cars build an image of their one. The BMW did it with The Ultimate Driving Machine. Benz on their Technology, Quality and Safety. Audi the Quarto AWD. Cadillac needs to identify their niche and exploit it to the point people will want to be seen with it.
Cars are seen in a much different way and image is everything today. Cadillac needs that customer base image and their own image that sets them apart and makes people want to be seen in it.
Cadillac needs to become The Ultimate Accessory to Life. The one thing that makes you appear successful if you have one and a looser if you don’t.
This is also why you don’t just want anyone’s grandfather owning one. To own one you need to be of means at least for the top models.
Like a Ferrari image. It is special because not everyone can have one and if you do then you must be special in some way.
You have to play this to the superficial side of the human ego.
Cadillac is going for the two-step communication model, by which they influence movers and shakers, who then influence the “regular people”. They’re doing this brand-wise through fashion and other venues, and engineering-wise through making cars that car people like. Most people in this market don’t care about skidpad G-forces, but they care about having the “best” car, and that’s one way to begin building that image. Same thing with the brand as a whole; if the “right” people like the brand, that will begin to influence regular consumers, which is something of a gamble, admittedly.
I disagree that hip-hop is the way to go. No doubt it influences some people and some markets, but I think it engenders a gaudy fantasy image, one of ersatz luxury and knowingly borderline taste. That’s not what Cadillac is after, and it might even backfire as that image is much more specific and narrow than a broadly “contemporary” or “fashion-forward” brand, and might serve to pigeonhole Cadillac unnecessarily.
As for Fashion people anymore really don’t care much about it and if they do they are not too worried about what car they own. Especially in NYC.
Most ride in the back of a black Tahoe livery service.
The only fashion designer who has much pull in the auto field is Ralph Lauren as he collects some of the greatest designs in the world.
I just feel there are more powerful media channels in other segments of the upper class that hold much more influence in the web age.
In any field there is a risk of Guady as I have seen it so often. But if you have seen any of these shows like MTV cribs and the like most at most may put a set of wheels on and that is about it. They buy the vehicle most times to show they have the means and power and can afford it. The Gaudy is often left on the Music Video’s as they do not really live the life presented. Trust me I am no fan of Hip Hop but that is where many of these younger buyers are coming from. They see the Benz and BMW as making it and that needs to be translated to Cadillac.
What Cadillac needs to sell here is a life style image of the rich and famous. To show you have made it you need to be in a Cadillac. It is a very superficial life anymore and having the right vehicles to speak for you still counts to many in this segment.
As it is new Warren Buffet likes to brag about his Cadillac because it is smart spending. The truth is that is not good for Cadillac in a segment where smart has no place in spending. If everyone was so smart we all would be in base model Cruze.
The fashion industry has tried to be tied to many past luxury models at GM and Lincoln and it never amounted to a hill of beans. The only really successful fashion tie was LL Bean on the Ford Explorer and I would be many just thought they bought a used car from some guy who put the name on the door.
I understand what they are trying to do but feel this is just not the right channel. The first attempt with the XT5 really did little but gather ridicule from the Automotive media. Autoweek trashed it and even dedicated the last page to the past failed attempts to tie the fashion industry to a car.
This is not an easy nut to crack and it will take things on several levels to sort this one out. It also will take time.
My real feeling is if you want to make a fashion statement you give compelling designs that draw the customer in. Design it so they feel it inside kind of styling. Example the 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso. It was not a race car or some major exotic looking car but the design just flowed and is considered buy more than myself as one of the best styled cars in the world. It has appeared in in the NYC Museum of art for its styling. That is where you make your fashion statement.
Or you do it inside like Bentley has with the new Quilted interiors. When they introduced that others followed.
Having models walk around a SUV you flew in on a Helicopter means little to most buyers in your target.
It’s true, fashion is hardly the silver bullet that will make all of the right people sit up and desire a Cadillac.
I for one have wanted them to run a subtle campaign where they simply arrange to have their highest-end/highest-trim/best-looking models parked outside of the finest hotels in the country with their hazards on. Not a shuttle car, just the idea that someone who is staying in the Peninsula or St. Regis is driving this car. Similar to how people tend to gawk at the Bentleys that pull up outside the Four Seasons and Waldorf in big downtowns.
It just seems like the hip-hop crowd may not be the “right” kind of buyer Cadillac is looking for, or even the kind of buyer who could realistically afford a Cadillac in the future.
I try to not stereotype or make broad generalizations, so I could be way off on this, but it may just be my bias talking. Someone who watches Cribs today may not be the kind of person who could A: realistically buy a Cadillac in the future, or B: the kind of person who would give credence to its image as a sophisticated and modern luxury.
Well here is the deal. The demo for Cadillac is going to be much different and diverse.
You will have the professionals who like to show their success.
You have the people who like to emulate stars, rappers, sports figures etc. Yes these people too have money and love to be superficial.
They you have the folks who like technology and craftsmanship.
There are more sub sets but there is more out there.
The bottom line is Cadillac needs to appeal to the ego and for those who like to display their wealth, present an image of success and want to stoke their ego in front of everyone. That is who buys cars like this for the most part and they are of all ages.
Now there is still the guy who want a sophisticated car that offers leading technology too. He also looks to the performance and other features offered.
As for the MTV cribs type this is how you train the young to want your product. It is well established that many automotive preferences are honed as young as 6 years old. Those Tonka pick up show trucks GM and Ford has done were done for a reason and it was to reach the young kids early. You train the youth to desire your product young and they will buy it later when they have the means.
The Right kind of buyer is the one who has the means and desire for your product. They are in every color, age and nationality. The key is to draw upon what drives their desire. I just don’t see models on a runway appealing to a large group.
Hell Hollywood made the Prius because the stars wanted to send the message they were environmental. You just have to find those hot buttons.
Hummer hit that note with many till the Media vilified them for being environmentally unfriendly and GM was at a point they had more larger issues to worry about. The H2 and H3 were no worse than a Tahoe or Tailblazer they were based on but the public did not know it.
Johann is going to play Cadillac to it’s strengths and push technology, Quality and Craftsmanship beyond what the others offer. Bentley has rode this angle for year and still does even under VW. He wants to play on the type of cars they offered in the 30’s when they were the world standard. He would like to do a Halo car such as a 4 door convertible that no one else does and would play on the old Open touring cars of the past. These would not be retro cars but they would recast the essence of the past in a modern car of today.
I really do not believe many really understand just how far Johann is willing to take Cadillac to the next level here. We are going to see things we never though GM would do again.
Could be. They certainly have to push quality and craftsmanship and refinement.
Johann understands Cadillac needs to be an extension of a luxury lifestyle. The people who buy Cadillacs (in the ideal future) will stay in five star hotels, fly first class, dine in 3-Michelin Star restaurants, etc. They are surrounded by the finest quality at every other point in their lives, and they will want a car that extends that.
Obviously, that will not be across the board, especially for ATS buyers, etc. but the brand should be smart enough to know how to place each product as an extension of the lifestyle of that price point.
It could be that the right play is a mix of aspirational lifestyle images; hip-hop, sports icons, fashion, etc. That would be a smarter play, assuming they can target the message correctly.
However, all of these people who just think Cadillac should throw a bench seat and a column shifter in there and sell Grandpamobiles until their entire customer base dies off are completely backwards.
Yes they need to deliver a message across many demographics as people today can be rich at many points of age.
The bench seat column shift boat is gone and not coming back.
They need to sell to the ego and offer a message people want expressed upon there own person.
Many people do not drive a BMW because of what it is but what message it tells about them.
Even a Rolex. It does not keep any better time than a $50 watch but it sends a message of quality, craftsmanship and that you are successful enough to afford one.
I agree Art and Science doesn’t look boring…it just needs to move up to the next level….from CTS style to Elmeraj style.
Modern luxury isn’t about leather seats as it’s optional in every vehicle as it’s about performance, quality and affordable because given a choice of BMW or Cadillac, consumers are picking BMW; Cadillac should take a page from Chevrolet as their Corvette is experiencing record sales before it’s affordable. If Chevy had priced the C7 Corvette Z51 at $90K and the Z06 at $120K, it’s doubtful that Chevy would be willing to sell over 2,000 Corvettes a month and this is why Cadillac needs to keep the XTS because if the upcoming CT6 has a base price of $70K, Cadillac will not have very many sales especially not with a 265hp turbo 2.0L 4-cyl engine.
no need for the FWD XTS