Cadillac is trying to convince consumers that the redesigned Seville is competitive with German luxury cars.
Cadillac has launched a massive, integrated media buy that includes cable TV, radio spots, outdoor billboards and display ads in subway stations.
Cadillac is not trying to reposition its flagship; it wants to change the perception of the Seville from an aged luxury car to a performance sedan.
So far the pitch is working. Seville sales, through May, are running 23.9 percent ahead of the same period last year, although they are still behind the Mercedes-Benz E class.
Through May, 1998 sales were: BMW 5 series, 12,731; Seville, 15,224; Mercedes-Benz E class, 19,554.
Cadillac wants the Seville to compete with BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the global luxury market, which Cadillac expects to increase annually by 250,000 units for the next four years.
15 TARGET MARKETS
The division began the job in the United States. Cadillac targeted 15 markets that account for 60 percent of U.S. luxury car sales.
The campaign began in March with a media buy to reach 90 percent of Seville target buyers in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and West Palm Beach, Fla., six to eight times during a four-week period.
The Seville's target buyer is 35 to 64 years old, with a household income of at least $100,000.
Cadillac also advertised last April on the most popular radio stations in the 15 target markets. As part of the advertising deal, disc jockeys at those stations did live broadcasts with the Seville on display.
'We generated over 20,000 leads from those live remotes,' said Ed Berger, the Seville's brand manager. 'They are people who don't currently own a Cadillac Seville, but said they were interested in more information.'
A photograph of the Seville and the 'It's what's next' tag line emblazons outdoor billboards from Times Square in New York to the Petersen Building on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Cadillac will continue its mass media ad campaign for the Seville through 1998. Print buys, in particular, will focus on the car's performance and equipment.
But as summer approaches, with vacations and reruns, Cadillac will lessen the number of TV commercials it runs for the Seville.
Instead, Cadillac will begin a campaign to market the Seville directly to consumers.
The May-June issue of Neiman Marcus' The Book, a clothing catalog, features a two-page spread on the Seville. And last month the Seville was on display in Neiman Marcus' 30 stores. 'The demographics of Neiman Marcus customers match our target buyer and quite a few of them drive competing vehicles,' said Cadillac spokesman Jan-Willem Vester.
So Cadillac is offering shoppers bonus points on their Neiman Marcus credit cards in exchange for test driving a Seville. Similar programs are scheduled at other malls.
Cadillac is also using a mixture of niche marketing and mass-media advertising to pitch the Seville.
Cadillac paid about $1.4 million last month to air a 30-second TV commercial on the final episode of NBC's 'Seinfeld.'
And while some media buys for the Seville were aimed at narrow demographic audiences, such as viewers of the Weather Channel, Cadillac bought 80 percent of the display advertising space in New York's World Trade Center.
The buy included the Trade Center subway station, through which 2 million people pass each day, Berger said.
The division also 'road blocked' in certain markets. 'You're buying one spot on as many channels (in one or more markets) as you want at the same time,' said Steven Rosenblum, Cadillac's director of advertising.
The idea is that no matter what channel is being watched, the viewer sees the Seville ad.
Berger said, 'We want to convey that the Seville is all-new, and compel the target (buyer) to think about the Seville in an all new way.'