Cadillac advertising gets a dramatically different look today.
After years of having different themes for different vehicles, Cadillac will have an umbrella theme for its divisional and product advertising.
Two divisional branding TV commercials from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Troy, Mich., break nationally tonight on 'Monday Night Football' on ABC. They tout Cadillac's history of technological innovations and design under the theme 'The power of &.' In the ads, the ampersand is used to link such qualities as 'design & technology' to show how Cadillac combines advanced engineering with luxury refinements.
The advertising is the first to tout the company's new 'art and science' brand position. Full-page teaser print ads appear in national newspapers today, Nov. 15, including USA Today and The New York Times, alerting readers to tonight's TV debut.
The divisional branding effort will run for two weeks on broadcast and cable TV. A DeVille TV commercial breaks Nov. 29 with the same theme. New ads for other models start arriving in January.
'The past 20 years have not been the kindest to Cadillac,' said John Smith, general manager of Cadillac. 'In the past three years, we've been especially busy at Cadillac trying to find our center again. Cadillac lacked a clear, concise, compelling sense of self.'
But after much soul searching and research, Smith said he believes Cadillac has started its turnaround. He said Cadillac is gaining acceptability among a wider audience.
The new art-and-science position reflects Cadillac's 98-year heritage of innovation. Smith predicted the division can distinguish itself with its high-tech options. Baby boomers and Generation Xers are influenced by high-tech products.
The campaign will move the division's image to 'the science part of Cadillac' by highlighting night vision, OnStar and Stabilitrak, said Patrick Sherwood, executive vice president of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. OnStar uses satellites and cell phones to provide emergency help and other services to drivers. Stabilitrak fights fishtailing on slippery curves.
The ad agency's Blue Marble division redesigned Cadillac's Web site at cadillac.com to reflect the new position. The new online look is due Dec. 15.
The ad effort will go global, said Kim Kosak, Cadillac's advertising and sales promotion director. Cadillac's research in North America, Switzerland and the United Kingdom revealed the art-and-science theme was relevant and credible to consumers, she said.
The Catera and Eldorado will get only print ads using the new theme, said Paul Edwards, the ad manager for the two vehicles. The Escalade and Seville commercials arrive in January.
Cadillac won't discuss ad spending details. The brand spent $156 million in measured media in the first half of 1999, compared with $100.6 million in the same period a year ago, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The division sold 147,846 vehicles through October, a 1.3 percent drop from a year ago.
But Smith said Cadillac stopped selling the De-Ville for about seven weeks in May to recall 33,000 cars to check on a generator-related fire that appeared in seven cars. He also pointed out competitors have gained unit sales by selling sport-utilities that cost less than $40,000.