GM'S KOSAK SETS SIGHTS ON CADILLAC'S BRAND IMAGE: DIVISION'S NEW AD/PROMO CHIEF COMES WITH EXPERIENCE FROM RETOOLING CHEVY

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Kim kosak says her biggest challenge as Cadillac's new advertising and promotion director is to refine the luxury car brand's image.

Right now, the 32-year-old Detroit-area native says it's too early to say how she and the brand teams at the General Motors Corp. division will accomplish that.

"We're still working on that right now," she explained.

Under consideration is whether to execute a brand image campaign across the whole model lineup or to extend common ad elements to only a few similar cars.

Until recently, Ms. Kosak had been assistant brand manager-marketing on Chevrolet's Silverado pickup -- GM's best-selling model -- a post she held for three years. At Cadillac, she succeeds Steve Rosenblum, who moves to brand manager for the Cadillac Seville and Eldorado.

Ms. Kosak, who joined GM in late 1989 as a market research analyst at Chevrolet, holds a master's degree in marketing from Detroit's Wayne State University. Her crowning achievement at the company so far, she said, is her integrated launch last fall of the redesigned Silverado.

STRONG PRE-LAUNCH

"We did a real strong pre-launch," she said, with promotions, the Internet and a long-running infomercial featuring baseball's Cal Ripkin Jr.

That gambit resulted in thousands of consumers requesting information about the pickup.

A similar infomercial for Cadillac is being considered, Ms. Kosak said, but only if the strategy reveals that prospects want or need a lot of product information.

"My greatest strength is my experience at Chevrolet," she said. "We really helped redefine what Chevrolet stands for."

When she started at Chevrolet, Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" theme song for truck ads via agency Campbell-Ewald Co. had just started. But consumers didn't perceive the brand's trucks as durable and dependable. But as the ad campaign evolved, "Like a Rock" helped significantly in moving the needle on prospects' perceptions, said Ms. Kosak.

She's already flexed her muscle in her new post with the launch of Cadillac's first sport-utility vehicle, the Escalade. Although the SUV's strategy had been set by the time she joined the division, she helped decide which of several executions by national Cadillac agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., would be used for the follow-up commercial.

EXCITING POSSIBILITIES

The latest spot, which broke during the Master's golf tournament broadcast on CBS April 11, came after an initial spot created by Berlin, Cameron & Partners, New York. The commercial from DMB&B touts Escalade as the only SUV with GM's OnStar communications' system.

Ms. Kosak's bosses at Cadillac have promised new and exciting vehicles in the future to match the brand's positioning of "art and science."

And she said to expect bolder advertising moves from Cadillac.

Among the ad vehicles she cited: the recent 3-D wrap-around outdoor display in Times Square of the brand's Evoq roadster, a concept car Automotive News reports

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