Case Study: DeVille touts technology in bid to lure young affluent drivers

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Cadillac DeVille set out to pick up a younger set of drivers when it launched a direct campaign tapping into the General Motors Corp. luxury unit's umbrella ad positioning of "The fusion of design & technology." The 2000 DeVille was the first Cadillac vehicle to use the new theme, specifically playing up technological features like Nightvision, which enables drivers to see farther via infrared technology.

A 200,000-piece direct mail push from Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftWorldwide, Detroit, was designed to acquire new customers from three segments: owners of other GM brands, drivers of competitive autos like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and people who requested information. "The primary emphasis with this new vehicle was to target buyers who wouldn't consider us before," said DeVille Brand Manager Pat Kemp.

"There are more younger and affluent folks in this luxury automobile category than ever before," said Alan Gajewski, VP-account director at Draft. "We could have flooded that market, but we only wanted certain folks to know that this was coming."

The 2,700 people who responded to initial mailers received an "exclusive" fulfillment package-a silver box including a CD-ROM, video and auto trade articles about the DeVille, and a product catalog.

"People want to be treated as though they are part of a club, that they are unique. That's extremely important to someone who's buying a luxury automobile," Mr. Kemp said.

Bcom3 Group's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., debuted the "Power of &" campaign in 1999, and Cadillac scrapped it early this year (AA, Jan 29), but the strategy of the direct mail push appears to be a keeper. The direct effort garnered a 1.35% response rate, making it a template for other Cadillac brands readying new products. "Our role was to turn the center of gravity around for Cadillac as a company," Mr. Kemp said.

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