Shawn Maher

Is this the Cadillac of Brand Manifesto Ads?

One of the most interesting trends we discussed this week was Cadillac’s new ad campaign. Especially since it premiered on the red carpet. Well, that is if the commercial breaks during the Oscars can be considered the red carpet. Still, it’s definitely a primo ad placement. 

Cadillac’s new CMO is launching his first campaign. It features a brand manifesto that harkens to other campaigns that helped embattled automakers make a U-turn. Jeep found new life in a brand manifesto ad during the Super Bowl. Will Cadillac do the same? 

This Spike Lee ad (not to be confused with a Spike Lee joint) shows the filmmaker delivering Cadillac’s manifesto while the viewer tours their flagship Escalade. It has an experiential vibe, which should resonate with millennials who grew up watching Spike Lee movies and seeing him courtside at Knicks games. And SUV sales are on the rise, even while younger generations are driving less. Plus, the copywriting is great…and of course a copywriter loves a copy-heavy ad campaign.  

So will it work? Escalade sales saw a big leap in 2018 compared to previous years but only a modest gain in 2019. However, over the past decade sales have largely trended upward. But with more and more luxury brands getting into the SUV game, Cadillac is positioning themselves to stake their claim and defend their place atop of the heap. If they have the horsepower to do it successfully remains to be seen.