DETROIT — Cadillac has tabbed the target audience for the upcoming Lyriq as those who are ready to make the jump to an electric vehicle but waiting for the right one.
For its first Super Bowl ad since 2012, Cadillac doesn't play up that the Lyriq is an EV, instead focusing on the Super Cruise driver-assist technology the crossover offers. The ad plays off a 31-year-old movie, Edward Scissorhands, as a "unique and fun way" to tell a story and show that Cadillac offers "truly hands-free driving," said Melissa Grady, Cadillac's chief marketing officer.
"I think just the humanness of the story is what I really want to resonate," Grady told Automotive News. "I think there's such a beautiful humanity to the spot, and I really hope that comes through, just as it did in the original movie."
Meanwhile, a number of brands that advertised in recent Super Bowls decided to stay on the sidelines this year.
Sunday's Super Bowl LV was expected to have the fewest automotive ads in recent memory.
Last year, auto manufacturers were the game's biggest advertisers, accounting for an estimated $77 million of spending on eight ads totaling nearly eight minutes, according to Kantar. It was the eleventh consecutive year that automakers had the largest presence of all Super Bowl ad categories.
Grady believes Cadillac's commercial would hold up well no matter how many automakers were competing for attention during the game.
"When you look at the spot, it's really almost more of a film than a commercial," she said, "and the Super Bowl is the perfect stage for that."
Tim Burton, who directed Edward Scissorhands, was supportive of the ad's premise, Grady said. It plays on nostalgia, but she said the movie, despite its age, is "iconic and timeless."
There's no Johnny Depp; the story centers on Edward's son, Edgar, who has the same artistic touch as his father. But Edgar, played by Timothee Chalamet, has another layer as a driving enthusiast, and his mother — played by Winona Ryder, reprising her role as Edward's love interest — gives him a Lyriq so he can drive hands-free.
It's the second consecutive year that General Motors has devoted major ad dollars during the Super Bowl to its EV rollout, which ramps up with the GMC Hummer electric pickup this fall and the Lyriq in early 2022. Both vehicles feature in another GM Super Bowl ad starring actor Will Ferrell.
Although the Hummer and Lyriq aren't mass-market vehicles, a GM spokesman said the automaker is giving them a high-profile push to show the potential of its Ultium battery platform and demonstrate how "exciting and interesting" EVs can be.
Filming of the Cadillac ad was completed early this year, with COVID-19 protocols adding complexity to the process.
Rather than being on-site in the Los Angeles area for the shoot, Cadillac's marketing team monitored the production on Zoom as they watched every shot, Grady said. Doing it that way, she said, gave them more of a director's point of view.
Grady said the broadness of the game's audience makes it an ideal place to tell the story of the brand, the Lyriq and Super Cruise. She didn't have any concerns about the ad's concept and celebrities distracting from Cadillac's message.
"In this case, especially having Winona in one of her first really big roles like that, to have her there, and then to have the talent of Timothee and the way that he plays the role," Grady said. "These two actors were very much in the role and bringing the story to life, more than having a personality overshadow something specifically."