Cadillac – The New Standard

Cadillac has a new motto — Cadillac, The New Standard.  This of course is a historical reference to the Royal Automobile Club of England’s award to Cadillac of the Dewar Trophy in 1908 in recognition of Cadillac’s precision engineering.

As Wikipedia nicely summarizes:

In February 1908, three Model Ks from the 1907 Cadillac production were released from the stock of Frederick Stanley Bennett (UK agent for Cadillac automobiles) at the Heddon Street showroom in London (these were engines Nos. 23391, 24111 and 24118). The three cars, all registered in London under the numbers A2EO, A3EO and A4EO, were driven 25 miles to the Brooklands race track at Weybridge. There, the cars completed another 25 miles before being put under lock and key until Monday March 2, 1908 when they were released and disassembled completely. Their 721 component parts were scrambled in one heap. Eighty-nine parts requiring extreme accuracy were withdrawn from the heap, locked away at the Brooklands club house and replaced with new parts from the Mr. Bennett’s showroom stock. A mechanic – Mr. E.O. Young – reassembled the cars with the help of his assistant – Mr. M.M. Gardner. Sometimes they had to work ankle-deep in water, using only wrenches and screwdrivers. The third car was re-assembled by Tuesday evening, March 10. By 2 p.m. on Friday March 13 the three cars had completed the mandatory 500-mile run with singular regularity. Only one point was lost owing to a broken cotter pin in the ignition lever (promptly replaced from stock). During the event, it was reported that one of the sheds where the parts were stored became partly flooded during a heavy storm and some parts became rusted. Only oily rags could be used to remove all traces of the immersion. On completion of the test, one of the cars was placed under lock and key where it remained until the start of the 2000-miles Reliability Trials, several months later. It came out the winner of the R.A.C. Trophy! Parts interchangeability could not have been demonstrated in any more convincing way.

It was after this proof that Cadillac took on the “Standard of the World” title, and well earned.

The new campaign appears to be re-introducing people to the fact that Cadillac is once again making world class vehicles by a variety of approaches.

A US released video, Race and Tow, shows an Escalade racing a Mercedes C300.  A Cadillac Arabia video shows a V-Series Coupe in the form of a tornado.

There is also a new Cadillac website, New Standards.   “We’re putting next generation technology into this generation of vehicles” — I think that is a strong statement.  It is the right goal for Cadillac, and conveys to Buyers what they can expect from the marque.

Previous work by BBH (New Cadillac Creative Agency) #Cadillac

Bryan Nesbitt says that BBH was selected to be the advertising agency for Cadillac due to passion for Cadillac, insight into luxury customers, and creativity:

DETROIT, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ — Cadillac has selected BBH (Bartle Bogle Hegarty) as our new creative agency of record. BBH was awarded the Cadillac business for their combination of passion for the Cadillac brand, deep insight into the luxury automotive target customer and outstanding creativity.

We look forward to continuing the renaissance of the Cadillac brand with our new agency partner.

Let’s look at some of BBH’s past work:

1) Vorsprung durch Technik – Audi

Promotional video for Audi: This is a 4 minute video that makes a persuasive case that Audi is for Drivers:

2) Laundrette: Levi’s jeans

Young man goes into a laundrymat, strips, and washes his jeans and t-shirt with a sack of rocks (stone-washed jeans I assume).

3) Keep Walking: Johnny Walker

Important walks through the last few decades

4) Crossroads: Johnny Walker

Metaphor for life choices — man has to select who to hitch a ride from at a crossroads


All of these are interesting and fun to watch, so hopefully we’ll see some really great work for Cadillac that sells cars.  Also hopefully we’ll get some advertising that helps people remember what Cadillac is about — premium luxury and performance.

Past Successes: [wikipedia]

BBH has been Agency of the Year twice at Cannes, and has won 32 IPA Effectiveness Awards since 1988. BBH London was Campaign magazine’s 2005 UK Agency of the Year, an honour it also held in 1986, 1993, 2003 and 2004. BBH also became Effectiveness Agency Of The Year for 2008 at both the IPA and APG awards, the first agency to achieve this feat. In the USA, Advertising Age recently voted BBH Global Network of the Year and, in Singapore, Ad Asia has chosen BBH as its Agency of the Year for the region.

Cadillac Books: Cadillac: The Tailfin Years

I received a copy of Cadillac: The Tailfin years by Robert J Headrick Jr. from my brother for Christmas (thanks!).  This 126 page book was published in 2008 by Iconografix.

Cadillac: The Tailfin Years courtesy Amazon

The book covers Cadillacs from the years 1948 through 1964, the peak of the years that Cadillac used prominent tailfins.  The approach the author took, as explained in the preface for the book, was to use the advertising literature of the time to address each model, year by year.  Each chapter addresses one year’s production, with illustrations drawn from actual sales brochures, and actual Cadillac marketing copy to tell the story of that year model.

On the face of it, I like to read advertising copy.  However, the illustrations often contain text that is too small to read (I considered but did not procure a magnifying glass to see if the text is legible if magnified).  Often the text in the ad is repeated as text in the book surrounding the ad.  This is useful, but problematic.  I would prefer to see the ACTUAL brochure or advertising copy, presented in the form/format it appeared at the time.  Then I would like the Author to add some background or context to help me understand what was happening at the time, what Cadillac was trying to do, and how it worked out.  In other words I would like the book to be very clear to segregate the period advertising copy from the Author’s text.

I am left with the feeling that the Author may have attempted my desire in terms of adding context, but because it is impossible to tell where the vintage advertising copy picks up and where the Author’s text ends, I am left wanting more clarity in the presentation.

The back of the book contains a number of full-page Cadillac ads, all marked ‘From the collection of Frank Nelson’.  It escapes me why the Author chose to credit Mr. Nelson on each brochure.  Certainly the brochures themselves would be property of Cadillac to the extent they retain any intellectual property rights.

I do like the year by year photos. Overall although initially I was put off by the presentation, I did find myself coming back and reading through year by year.

The book itself has a full color paper card cover, and 126 pages of text.   The volume is one of the thinner books in my Cadillac library.  It is printed in China.   The suggested price for the book is $34.95, which seems quite dear for this volume.  I would prefer to see it priced under $23, perhaps at $15 or $19.  As a gift, it is a nice addition to my collection of Cadillac books.