Cadillac is having fun at the mall. At least in Denver. General Motors' Western region is allocating an estimated $1 million per year, or about 10 percent of its Denver-area Cadillac ad spending, to be the exclusive automotive sponsor of Denver's upscale Cherry Creek shopping center. GM is looking at signing a three-year contract with the mall instead of the one-year contracts it has signed in the past.
As part of the initiative, Cadillac co-sponsors six to eight Cherry Creek nonprofit events per year, such as jazz and art festivals and charity dinners. GM and the mall also have created Cadillac Club Cherry Creek, a 4,000-member club in which Cherry Creek loyalists are treated to perks, such as free valet service. In addition, Cherry Creek sends out a quarterly newsletter to its customers.
Cadillac also has the right to display its vehicles inside and outside the shopping mall for about 100 days each year, and Cadillac Escalade sport-utes are used as security vehicles for the mall.
Denver-area Cadillac dealers started the sponsorship in 1997, but GM marketing execs took over in 1999 when the company reorganized and took away factory ad funds from the dealers.
Mary Pacifico-Valley, owner of Rickenbaugh Cadillac in Denver, says she has experienced a 'steadiness' in sales over the past four years because of the consistent presence of Cadillacs at the mall. She believes the sponsorship has helped Cadillac remain competitive with other luxury vehicles in the area.
The mall, owned by Taubman Centers Inc. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., attracts buyers with average household incomes of $75,000, according to Lisa Herzlich, the mall's marketing director. About 15 million people visit annually, racking up $450 in sales per square foot of retail space. The national average is about $200, she says.