Cadillac Puts Its Marque on Logo

GM Brand Creates Series of Ads for LGBT Network

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NEW YORK -- Cadillac wants TV viewers to meet four New Yorkers next year: fashion designer Rubin Singer, journalist Linda Villarosa, Broadway producer Jeffrey Seller and chef/restaurateur Anita Lo. They're linked by the success they've achieved in their respective fields, but they also have one key factor in common that's less explicitly implied in spots that recently began airing on the Logo network: They happen to be gay.
Cadillac has been an active spender in gay print advertising, but its branded interstitials on Logo mark the first time the automaker has spent on LGBT-targeted TV.
Cadillac has been an active spender in gay print advertising, but its branded interstitials on Logo mark the first time the automaker has spent on LGBT-targeted TV.

The interstitials, part of the "Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit" campaign for the 2008 Cadillac DTS, will premiere quarterly and exclusively on MTV's gay-targeted cable network, currently in 23 million homes. The first one to premiere earlier this month, profiling Mr. Singer, takes a look at the professional and personal life of the Oscar de la Renta designer, who has overcome obstacles aside from his sexuality in order to thrive in the competitive fashion industry.

A TV first for Cadillac
The spots mark the General Motors brand's first foray into TV advertising for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender market but only the latest example of a marketer partnering with Logo to reach the gay community on TV. Earlier this year, Levi's created two versions of the same ad as a way to show creative equality to straight and gay audiences. Other brands, such as Orbitz and Subaru, have created Logo-specific spots to more effectively target the audience.

As a result, Logo has amassed a client roster of more than 100 advertisers in its four-year history, a portfolio of which Brian Graden, president and founder of Logo, couldn't be prouder. "God bless the age we live in, but getting a stronger roster has not been an issue," he told Ad Age in August. "We're seeing the conversation evolve from 'Will you run our ads?' to 'How can we leverage our marketing campaigns to create deeper engagement with your audience?'" he said.

Lisa Sherman, senior VP-general manager of Logo, added, "I think the good news is being gay in 2007 is not such a big deal anymore. These stories about people's success in their professional lives was really not about them being gay. That was just a small part of the story. To the extent that we have evolved, we feel very lucky to play a role in helping with that evolution."

'Human element'
Cadillac has been an active spender in gay print advertising, buying pages in Out, The Advocate and Instinct, but Kevin Smith, the brand's communications manager, said the intention of the "Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit" campaign has always been to create a more emotional connection with its audience. "It's more than just providing rational attributes about our products. We wanted to bring in an overall human element to the campaign than we have in the past, including the people in the ads throughout," Mr. Smith said.

Moreover, more integrated TV buys, such as the one the carmaker executed with FX for its Glenn Close drama "Damages" earlier this year, are becoming a larger part of Cadillac's overall media strategy. "It's too easy for people to ignore traditional TV spots. You're much better served if you find a way to incorporate your brand more holistically," Mr. Smith said.

While gaining market share among Logo's upscale gay audience is an obvious goal for Cadillac, Mr. Smith said the ads are also an opportunity for the brand to change its perception among the community. At a recent automotive media event on the West Coast, Mr. Smith asked a lesbian journalist if she looked forward to test-driving a Cadillac that afternoon. She replied, "That's not really something my readers would be interested in." As Mr. Smith recalled, "We talked for a little bit, and her perception of Cadillac was the old floaty boat Caddy of old. I told her, 'We're dramatically different than we used to be. I'd certainly like to see you take the car around the block.'" After a brief test drive, the journalist said, "You're right."

The Logo ads represent the largest-scale efforts on Cadillac's part to change that consumer awareness, the key metric it's using to determine success.

"When you get good feedback, then you know you're on the right track. It's not something you can effectively measure," Mr. Smith said.
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