If you happened to be watching the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, you may have seen Cadillac’s new campaign, its first from new agency Fallon. The new campaign is the first for Cadillac under the aegis of Joel Ewanick who gave the business to Fallon shortly after his arrival last year. The campaign seeks to clearly position the brand by “taking hold of red blooded luxury” according to Don Butler, VP Marketing, Cadillac. Mr. Butler went on to define red blooded luxury as “dramatic, passionate, glamorous, daring, a whole new approach to the luxury category.”
Here’s the introductory commercial:
Strategically, I think this work is smart. I like the idea of setting up the other Tier 1 luxury marques as “blue-blooded” (cold, aloof, distant, rational) and juxtaposing Cadillac’s “red blooded luxury” (passionate, glamorous, dramatic, daring). What this very effectively does is take the traditional Tier 1 luxury marques’ reputation for prestige and turns it against them. Who wants to drive the same car as that couple “celebrating” their anniversary!
I also think the execution hits on a “truth.” The Tier 1 luxury segment competitors have lost their personality and charisma. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus seem less exclusive, more ordinary and alike than ever before. The luxury segment buyer is ready for something new and different. To an extent, Audi is capitalizing on this opportunity, but they are walking a fine line because they desperately want to be a blue blood too.
Cadillac seems to be willing to thumb its nose at the traditional notion of Tier 1 luxury and not worry if it ever passes the “country club test” (What will they say at the club when I drive up in a Cadillac?). Good for Cadillac. There’s a whole new generation of luxury car buyers coming into the segment, who look at the current Tier 1 brands and don’t want any part of them. That’s Cadillac’s opportunity (see my earlier post on this topic).
Here are a couple of the introductory print executions:
All in all, I like the “red blooded luxury” positioning and the campaign. The product photography is beautiful and takes full advantage of one of the most dramatic designs in the business. This all bodes well for the Cadillac brand.
The only risk that I see is that it will be easy to allow the “red blooded” positioning to turn into a performance story. If it becomes only about performance then I think Cadillac will have missed the opportunity to separate itself from its Tier 1 competition. For example, this commercial is also part of Cadillac’s new campaign:
What happened to the “passionate, glamorous, daring” part of the red blooded luxury positioning? What I see is a nicely executed performance spot. Without the “passionate, glamorous, daring” part of the positioning, “red blooded” could easily become a performance focused idea that makes Cadillac just another high performance luxury segment entrant.
The campaign has only just launched so it will be fascinating to see where Cadillac and Fallon go from here. I hope they succeed in telling the whole “red blooded” story because with the “passionate, glamorous, daring” piece, Cadillac could become “The New Standard of the World.” Without it, Cadillac will be just another performance footnote in the history of a segment that has repeatedly raised the performance bar.