DETROIT -- General Motors wants its new Cadillac marketing campaign to be the first step in winning sales from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
"We need to build aspiration and do a better job at getting into the head of the Lexus, BMW and Mercedes owners and really solidify Cadillac from the standpoint of a worldwide premium brand," Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, said during a conference call with analysts. "The new campaign is going to do that."
GM has launched two 30-second TV commercials for Cadillac. For the first time in four years, Cadillac commercials will not feature Led Zeppelin's music or the voice-over work of actor Gary Sinise.
The print ads began appearing in national publications in late July and this month.
"Given how big Mercedes, BMW and Lexus are, everyone's going to target them as the ideal customers to steal," Jim Taylor, Cadillac's general manager, said in an interview with Automotive News.
The two commercials, called "Crest" and "Heart," use soft music and emphasize the brand's craftsmanship and performance, Taylor said.
Doug Scott, an industry analyst at GfK Automotive in Southfield, Mich., said: "The direction in terms of craftsmanship, having both the rationale and emotional base of where Cadillac wants to go as a brand, is definitely the direction Cadillac should go in. However, as we know, there's a brand sitting at the top of the mountain called Lexus."
Scott says Cadillac's new message could work to unseat Lexus, but it will take a long time.
"You have three heavy-hitting brands perceived in some way or another to have high levels of craftsmanship and certain levels of performance." Scott says.
Taylor said Cadillac is prepared to stick it out. Cadillac has studied its new target crowd and plans to emphasize the more emotional elements and build the cachet of driving a Cadillac.
"It's not as simple as product targeting or brand targeting -- it's people targeting," Taylor says. "You dissect the people who gravitate toward BMW, Lexus or Mercedes. We think those are three groups of people who are wired to come our way."
The campaign is the first for Cadillac's new ad agency, Modernista. Cadillac ended its 71-year relationship with Leo Burnett in June.
Taylor says future ads will offer storytelling, fantasy and fun -- elements that Modernista's Hummer ads are known for.
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