Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The penalty of idiocy

The Cadillac ELR is a fine car. Not great, but not bad at all. It's comfortable, well-appointed and drives nicely. If you're looking for a luxury electric, you should test drive it. But that's not the point of this post.

This post is about the god-awful spot that launched this pretty good car.

By now you've probably seen it. The all-too-proud American mocking others for their work ethic (or lack thereof). But in case you haven't, here it is.

First of all, Cadillac is not expecting to sell too many ELRs, especially given that this electric sled will set you back $75K. So being polarizing isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just as important for a brand to know what it doesn't stand for as what it does.

The ELR is a statement car, one that's supposed to halo the brand. Unfortunately with this spot they've made the statement that the Cadillac brand is all about "me." Egoistic, self centered, arrogant and unapologetic.

GM's PR team have argued that the spot is about success, but that's not the message one takes away from the wink and sneering use of French at the end.

I think somewhere in their misguided heads, the creative team at Cadillac's new agency, Rogue, thought they were updating this classic and brand-defining print ad from 1915 for a new generation.


If  that's the case they whiffed badly.

It's one thing to voice your objection to the critics. It's another altogether to poke fun at other people and cultures.

In doing so Cadillac has alienated the very people they are hoping will buy new ATSs, CTSs, SRXs and ELRs; BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar owners.

It's time for Cadillac to admit their mistake and pull this spot.

"N'est-ce pas."

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