Because Cadillac believes that style matters, even when you’re just headed to the grocery store.
“I wanted the car we show to be pearl white, not gray,” says Cadillac marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus, pointing to the CT6, the focal point of Cadillac’s exhibit at the Detroit Auto Show. The CT6 will be the star of the 2016 Oscar commercials during the February 28th broadcast.
Uwe (pronounced Uva, rhymes with Uma, as in Thurman) knows what all stylish women know: everyone looks better in pearls. It’s that subtle glow that pearls project on your face, the way they mirror a beautiful smile and glowing eyes. And how they say smart, sophisticated and successful all in one swoop of the eye.
Shunning a car-filled Super Bowl for fashion-focused Oscars
Uwe and his team pivoted from the traditional forums of car advertising, including the Super Bowl, and went for much more fashionable showcases, like the Oscars, for the CT6 and the brand’s newest crossover, the XT5. “We need to leave the boundaries of automotive to capture the character of the car,” Uwe says of the next iteration of the Dare Greatly campaign. “This has to be organic,” with attention to craftsmanship and detail.
Details, details, details: Telling the magic of the CT6 through its interior
To capture this, the campaign is anchored with imagery that intimates the chic life on New York’s SoHo streetscapes. Uwe wants you to see what it’s like to live the Cadillac life, and how Cadillac is moving forward. Spots for the CT6 shown “during the Oscars will show more of the interior,” he says; “It’s my dream to launch a new car with the focus on the interior. ”
This is a rare strategy among cars that traditionally appeal to the male dominated areas of performance and engineering, a world in which Cadillac has earned new laurels in recent years, winning best in class recognition among its German competitors.
Great products lead to great brands: Lessons learned from BMW and Montblanc
But it takes both performance excellence and attention to aesthetics to achieve perfection in the luxury realm. “I learned at BMW that there are no great brands without great products,” says Uwe, who spent 15 years at the Bavarian automaker, then served as chief marketing officer of luxury pen maker Montblanc before making the move to Cadillac in 2014.
Now at Cadillac, once the definition of luxury, Uwe is charged with taking the brand’s reputation to the next level, positioning the CT6 against the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S Class and Audi A8.
Thinking like a designer: The magic is in the details
Like a designer who thinks through the details of design presentation, down to the smallest things like retail lighting or the typeface on the price tags, Uwe considers every element to be an opportunity for the consumer to fall more in love with the brand. That’s why the the people, the setting and the color of the cars shown are so important.
The Oscar spots are the next generation of Cadillac’s Dare to Be Great campaign, which rolled out last year. The photographer “had never done any car photography before; he is a fashion photographer, he knows how to make women look glorious,” using a visual language that is not typical of automotive advertising. “We are not going to use the automotive cliches,” Uwe said; don’t expect to see Cadillacs sweeping across closed desert tracks or stanchioned on sandstone monuments in the Southwest.
Fashioning desire for Cadillac’s newest crossover: the XT5
The Oscar broadcast will also showcase XT5, Cadillac’s newest crossover, which replaces its top seller, the SRX. The XT5 should be in showrooms in April, so you’ll see ads everywhere: in magazines, on line and on television.
What Uwe hopes you take away from the campaign is the recognition that “we merge all the important elements of our lives, from shopping for groceries to evenings out on the town; we don’t have a car for every occasion,” he says. Our car should reduce the stress in our lives, be a respite and also, a statement of our personal style.