General Motors Corp. has done little, if any, divisional advertising since the automaker's brand-management efforts began in 1995, instead emphasizing ads for specific car models.
"It's our intention to introduce some Cadillac-level advertising," says John Smith, Cadillac general manager. "We feel this is a reasonable thing to do because fundamentally we're looking at a transition of the entire Cadillac brand."
Divisional ads around the "art and science" theme -- signaling a push for distinctive styling and technological innovation -- will be part of a sweeping change in Cadillac advertising, Mr. Smith says.
A key move will be using D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., as the division's sole global agency.
"We're looking for a single [global] agency to take all of the multiple-agency friction loss out of the system," Mr. Smith says.
D'Arcy, which in past years had been rumored to be in trouble with the account, has played an important role in efforts to rebuild the Cadillac brand, Mr. Smith says, adding that the agency has added personnel to both the U.S. and global Cadillac account.
Internationally, Cadillac is handled by region, with McCann-Erickson Worldwide in Canada; Leo Burnett Co. in the Middle East; and D'Arcy in Asia-Pacific. That structure will remain in place for the immediate future.
"Both on the creative and account side, [D'Arcy has] really increased their capabilities," he notes. "I'm personally very pleased with the commitment that's being shown, including [MacManus Group Chairman] Roy Bostock], who appeared out here with some frequency at high-level meetings. They've really raised the level of their game."
D'Arcy referred all calls on advertising and brand changes to Cadillac.
Cadillac spent $214 million in measured media in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting, and Mr. Smith wouldn't discuss whether that expenditure would be boosted behind the "Art and science" push.
The main thrust in Cadillac advertising will be to build a uniform personality around the "Art and science" theme. In recent years, ads for different models have had distinct personalities.
For instance, Cadillac models have had their own taglines: "Live without limits" for Eldorado; "It's what's next" for Seville; and "It's good to be the Cadillac" for Escalade.
"What we will be moving to is model-line advertising that will have a shared look and feel," Mr. Smith says.
Divisional advertising will target college-educated 35-to-54-year-olds with a household income of more than $100,000, especially prestige-import owners or persons aspiring to own those brands, according to a Cadillac official.
TV and print work for the division, along with DeVille TV spots, will run through yearend. First-quarter 2000 will see print ads for the Catera sedan and Escalade sport-utility vehicle.
Cadillac will continue to focus on its key sports properties, including major golf tournaments, the National Football League and National Basketball Association, but will return to its racing roots by sponsoring a Cadillac-powered car at the 24-hour LeMans race, as well as other 24-hour events.
Those events are designed to show off Cadillac's technological expertise while also reaching an international audience, to make inroads with car buffs who own BMW and Mercedes-Benz models, the Cadillac official says.
The move is likely to put more ads into auto-enthusiast publications, and Cadillac also is looking for integrated campaigns that build relationships with consumers through events or promotions that encourage product trials.
Cadillac is backing out of individual models' alliances with smaller, hard-to-quantify events such as garden shows and mountain biking, the Cadillac official notes.
As contracts to sponsor major golf tournaments expire, it may look at other