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Cadillac helps Ferrari
Tags: ad, brandstrategy, cadillac, critique, ferrari
Here's yet another auto ad. I guess I'm unapologetic in my affection for them. Not only do auto companies advertise frequently, but I have a strong emotional connection to the subject matter. I think I went through a stretch of about 15 years where I had 10+ new cars. Thankfully, marriage and kids moved me past that!
In any event, this is the new Cadillac ad showcasing the performance oriented CTS vehicle. Cadillac has a luxury positioning, to be sure - but has been building some performance oriented vehicles of note as well. This spot is dedicated to burnishing that performance aspect of the Cadillac brand and, in this humble reviewers opinion, they did a very solid job with it.
The 'Big Creative Idea' of this spot is communicated somewhat subtly, but it is indeed quite creative and impactful! The engineers at GM created an innovative, performance suspension technology. It, apparently, was such a leap forward that Ferrari borrowed it for their uber performance, exotic sports cars. The spot opens asking what we would think if we knew that Cadillac borrowed technology from Ferrari. It's a good question. To answer it, simply, I'd be impressed. It would demonstrate a true commitment to performance that would move me if I were in the market for a luxury performance car. The spot then asks what we would think if we found out that Ferrari, in fact, borrowed the technology from Cadillac. It's a brilliant play on words that highlights the advanced work that must be going on 'behind the screen' at GM. This point is then visually expressed when the shot of the Ferrari is panned out to show that its really from the vantage point of the rear view mirror of the Cadillac! Wow - now, again, while perhaps somewhat subtle - it's very well done, very powerfully communicated both visually and audibly!
The spot then proceeds with a number of fast cuts on a race track with the Ferrari actually trailing the Cadillac; obviously, not by accident! Seeing the beautifully red and sexy Ferrari even in the same spot - and on the same track - as the gray/black Cadillac somewhat strains credulity. This is a Caddy after all. And herein lies my only question about this advertising. I actually love the ad and think its quite effective for them, but is it too good to be true?
While I don't necessarily doubt that the engineers at GM - perhaps isolated off in some black ops like facility - could create something that Ferrari would use (lightening does strike . . .), it does seem something of a stretch that that technology would be showcased as it is in the Cadillac brand. Now I'm sure that the technology was probably conceived and developed for the Corvette, and as with the engine and probably other parts - lent to the highest performing Cadillac model(s). That said, this is where the complex brand positioning challenge comes in. Although the Cadillac looks great on the track with the Ferrari, wouldn't a nice bright Vette just make more plain sense here? Wouldn't this ad and the Big Creative Idea, etc. be even more effective, and work harder, for the Corvette brand - where pure, hardcore performance is even more appreciated than with those Cadillac brand fans who seek out high performance driving? Heck for me, its something of a stretch to compare a Corvette and a Ferrari, much less a Cadillac.
Again, I understand that Cadillac is trying to support the performance aspect of their brand. Another ad with the Caddy racing around the Nurburgring is quite effective in that regard as well. This spot just seems a wee bit unbelievable coming from Cadillac - particularly so from the vantage point of an enthusiast who appreciates the enormous brand, technical, and racing equity that the Ferrari brand commands.
All that said, it is a very good piece of advertising. Although a serious risk, Cadillac is definitely not overshadowed by the gorgeous red Ferrari. Cadillac is the true and clear "winner" of the spot and I can only imagine that it will support both the brand and product sales.
Kudos. 4 stars for brilliant strategy and good execution. Even though Cadillac may have created a piece of automotive technology that Ferrari uses, and even if this particular Cadillac could outperform a Ferrari car, the gargantuan disparity in the power of the brands, in my humble view, is just so enormous that it makes the performance inference (without regard to whether its true or not) shown on the track just unbelievable. It's a big idea though, very well executed, and I applaud the Caddy agency for aggressively pushing the point.
Here's a working url for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4csCKTJeT0
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