Driving Changes

Caddy takes a different approach on marketing the new ELR

Andy Bolig - March 27, 2014 02:07 PM


Screen shot from the first Cadillac ELR ad titled "Poolside"

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sometimes it takes something striking to call above the static and draw our attention beyond the five seconds we’ve conditioned our minds to focus on anything

Engineering new forms of automotive propulsion is pretty cutting-edge stuff and it makes sense that marketing techniques for such technologies would be equally out of the box.

One of the main goals of marketing is getting people to talk about your “stuff”. Now, obviously, the main goal of marketing is getting folks to BUY your stuff, but if they’re not even talking about it, they surely aren’t buying it either. The first step is getting them talking about it.

That’s exactly what Cadillac did recently with a new ad campaign for their ELR. Their electric-drive ultra-luxury coupe was introduced to the world in a polarizing ad touting the American drive to succeed more than the benefits one might enjoy inside the ELR once they’ve achieved it.

The commercial and online ad is riddled with self-assurance, asking questions like, “Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon? That’s right! WE went up there. And you know what we got? BORED!” The ad goes on to answer why we left the keys in the lunar rover. The reason? We knew we’d be the only ones going back up there!

It becomes instantly clear that this ad is directed at those type-A, driven-to-succeed individuals, those early-risers who beat the morning rush by hours and are usually the ones turning off the lights at the end of the day. Cadillac sought to reach those kindred spirits by kindling that Can-Do attitude living deep in the fertile grounds of the American Dream.

As you can imagine, praises and comments began flowing almost immediately and with over one million views of the commercial on Cadillac’s YouTube account, there’s no denying that this commercial has done its marketing job well, at least so far as putting the new Cadillac ELR on the radar screens of potential buyers. It definitely stirs the emotions and conjures up an air of success, but does it SELL the car to them?

Today’s buyers are inundated with information, and sometimes it takes something striking to call above the static and draw our attention beyond the five seconds we’ve conditioned our minds to focus on anything. This ad did that well. But now Cadillac has followed up with ads designed to answer many of the questions that arise as potential buyers turn their attention, and wallets, toward Cadillac’s luxury coupe. Knowing that if they’re ever looking for a ride on the moon, they won’t be lacking a key, is good knowledge, but before they drop down seventy-five large to buy an ELR, potential buyers will most likely want to know what they’re getting.

Whether to simply answer these types of questions, or as a nod to those who disliked the original ELR ad, it is fitting that Cadillac has introduced another. This one does a great job of describing what is meant by “electric-drive” and what sets the Cadillac ELR apart from other electric cars. It explains a little better how ELR can go beyond simply “plug-in” technology and can re-generate usable power through braking, coasting and even through Cadillac’s Re-Gen system designed into the propulsion system. While the video does go on to describe how the Cadillac ELR can go beyond the boundaries of the wall outlet, it also acknowledges the fact that the ELR is still primarily “fueled” by a wall charging outlet and the on-board, gas-fueled charging system simply allows one to break free from focusing primarily on the battery level meter for longer than the 38-40 mile trek around town.

While the initial ad served up a huge helping of that Ameri-Can-Do attitude, the following campaign clearly focuses more on the techie, day-by-day realities that one might find in owning an ELR. So, fellow Cars and Parts readers, which ad speaks to you directly? Do you prefer the first one while watching some baseball and enjoying a nice slice of apple pie? Or, are you the type of person who had half-assembled watches and ball-point pens lying around because of your insatiable desire to know what made them tick? Check out the two ads by clicking the links below, then comment below which one strikes YOUR fancy and why. We’re waiting to hear from you!

Poolside Video

Informative Video