Cadillac’s Lovely Oscars Ad Offers Message of Unity for a ‘Nation Divided’

Originally published on Adweek.com

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Over the past few years, Cadillac has presented itself as an automotive brand with a point of view, one that stands for entrepreneurialism and taking risks, under its new platform, “Dare Greatly.” Its new ad, debuting on this Sunday’s Oscars, follows that playbook, offering a message of hope amid the anger and aggression of today’s contentious political climate.

“Carry” shows the moments of humanity that exist amid the protests, and emphasizes how Americans, despite what they believe or where they come from, have helped each other and carried each other forward throughout the past century, with flashes of military veterans, political movements of the past, and inspirational celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali. The ad states that, “While we’re not the same, we can be one.”

“There’s quite a bit of soul searching going on in the nation right now, and the creative community, in particular, is experiencing it at an intense level,” said Melody Lee, director of brand marketing at Cadillac. “It was important for us, as a brand, to try to make a statement, not politically and not necessarily socially, but to remind the country that we’re at our best when we come together.”

Three other new spots airing during Sunday’s awards show, all from Publicis agency Rokkan, also feature the “Dare Greatly” theme, focusing on the design and technology of the Cadillac Escala Concept and CTS-V.

Cadillac debuted the “Dare Greatly” platform during last year’s Oscars, with spots that featured millennial entrepreneurs and inventors in an effort to appeal to younger drivers. Cadillac’s rebranding, which took root in 2015 when the brand moved its headquarters from Detroit to New York, is based on appealing to younger generations, who don’t have preconceived notions about the brand, by positioning it as entrepreneurial, fashion-forward and art-focused.

Cadillac sees the Oscars, rather than the Super Bowl, as its major advertising event because it believes it’s a better fit for that target audience.

“The Oscars is the Super Bowl of pop culture,” Lee said. “It has the second-largest live audience after the Super Bowl, so it fits with our strategy of putting Cadillac at the center of culture. Our efforts are built around restoring the brand to where it used to be, as an icon of pop culture. Our goal is to build emotional resonance with the Gen X and Gen Y crowd, and this year, we’re trying to build historical relevance as well.”

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