Cadillac to Car Buyers: If You Work Hard, You'll Get Lucky

Automaker's Fall Campaign From Interpublic Agency Team Rogue Will Reposition the Luxury Brand

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For more than 100 years, it's been touted as "The Standard of the World," but Cadillac's marketing team now wants to portray the luxury auto in a new light.

Executives familiar with Caddy's ad plans say when the brand unveils a major fall campaign from new agency Rogue, the messaging will lean on American values, such as the notion that everyone can create his or her own destiny. Cadillac will be painted as a more-accessible car than it has been, and a main idea behind the campaign is the theme "Work Hard. Be Lucky."

It's a U-turn from the messages parent General Motors has relied on in the past to market Cadillac. They have included the stodgy "for wealthy white guys" type of ads churned out for decades by Leo Burnett; the overtly sexy overtones in the Kate Walsh commercials by (now-shuttered) Boston shop Modernista; and the focus on performance conveyed by aggressive driving sequences for Fallon's 2012 "ATS vs. the World" campaign.

The new direction will be carried out by Rogue, a team of Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned shops Hill Holliday, Campbell-Ewald and Lowe appointed in June. Though some ads will start to trickle out nationally in the next few weeks, the big ad push won't hit until November.

Cadillac reps declined to say whether "Work Hard. Be Lucky" will be used as an actual tagline in forthcoming ads. But spokesman David Caldwell said the theme "was pivotal in [Rogue's] creative pitch to help them win the account" and that "it is one of the creative concepts that has a lot of momentum right now."

He added: "It could very easily end up being a line of copy along with other lines; we don't really know yet. It's an open question as to how dramatically it will be featured." It also remains to be seen whether the new work will be exported around the world.

During the recession, Cadillac advertising focused on product attributes. However, the more emotional approach comes as the brand rides a tailwind. With a new management team that includes Cadillac Global VP Bob Ferguson and Ad Director Craig Bierley and an expanded portfolio of offerings, the cars are now selling at their fastest rate in years.

For the first seven months of 2013, Cadillac sales are up 30% over 2012, according to Automotive News figures.

Strength came from the ATS compact and the XTS large sedan, two nameplates that were not in the lineup a year ago, Auto News said.

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