DETROIT -- Cadillac will pump out plenty of commercials for its redesigned 2014 CTS sedan during the Winter Olympics this month. But hitting the target audience for its new ELR plug-in hybrid will require a more nimble approach.
Cadillac is partnering with small but affluent social media groups, hanging its shingle in luxury shopping locales and using a precision digital strategy to reach would-be buyers of the $75,995 coupe, which was launched last month.
"If you live on the West Coast and you're an architect and you've given to environmental causes, you're probably going to hear about the ELR," Cadillac global chief Bob Ferguson told Automotive News. "We have sliced and diced who is likely to buy this vehicle."
Cadillac is billing the ELR as an exclusive halo car that buyers will be lucky to get their hands on -- annual production probably will run shy of 5,000. So Cadillac is ditching the usual in-market advertising of lease deals and rebates in favor of messaging aimed at building Cadillac's image among influential circles.
For example, it has been hosting experiential events with groups whose members are affluent, green-minded and have an appreciation for design and innovation. It partnered with W Magazine last month to sponsor a party of up-and-coming Hollywood celebrities.
Cadillac became the official automotive partner for IvyConnect, a members-only social network of entrepreneurs and trendsetters who meet at cocktail party settings on the East Coast. Cadillac stationed an ELR at an outing in the Hamptons for members to ogle and test drive. It hosted a similar event with Girls in Tech, a network in Silicon Valley.
The gatherings helped Cadillac begin to build a database of potential buyers. This month, it will begin targeting digital content to the Web sites they frequent, says ELR marketing manager Sabin Blake.
"We've got highly targeted media partners. We've identified the sites where they shop, the news outlets they visit," Blake says. "We're delivering ELR content where they live."
Cadillac won't completely avoid TV, though. It is running a commercial featuring the ELR during the Olympics, which a spokesman describes as more of a "brand spot."