LAS VEGAS -- As General Motors Co. attempts to take the Cadillac brand global, its ad spending is going digital.
Cadillac has moved 25% of its marketing spending into digital platforms from 17 percent three years ago as it uses online advertising to build its global brand around its BMW-fighting ATS sedan, said Don Butler, vice president of U.S. marketing for Cadillac, between sessions at the JD Power Automotive Marketing Summit here on Wednesday.
"We're using digital to do things we couldn't do 15 years ago in terms of establishing and our place and our voice" abroad, Butler said.
Cadillac and Chevrolet are the two brands GM wants to build on a global basis, but Cadillac faces an uphill battle. Butler told the audience at the auto-marketing summit that 95 percent of global luxury-car sales comprise cars made outside in the U.S. In the U.S., meanwhile, imports account for 80 percent.
But Butler said he believes digital media is giving Cadillac the opportunity to tell its story in markets where its market share makes buying TV ads inefficient.
"Essentially everything we do in Europe is digital," he said. "We don't have the scale or the volume at this point to do broadcast; it doesn't make sense."
"This is not an easy task, but we do believe we have an opportunity to establish American luxury as a true distinctive choice in the global marketplace," he said.
The cornerstone of that effort is the Cadillac ATS and a series of videos, "Cadillac vs. The World," that debuted during the Olympics. The short films, Cadillac's attempt to explain the brand to a global audience, were shot in Patagonia, Morocco, Monaco and China and both were cut into TV spots and distributed digitally.