Fashion Show Spot Is Complete Departure From 'Break Through' Theme

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DETROIT ( -- For Super Bowl XL, Cadillac is punting on its "Break Through" campaign, touted in its own press releases a year ago as the most successful in the brand’s history.

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Led Zeppelin is out of Cadillac's 2006 Super Bowl strategy.

To introduce its redone 2007 Escalade sport utility, the GM luxury brand will run a 60-second spot in the second quarter but will not use the campaign's signature Led Zeppelin "Rock and Roll" riff, said Jon Brancheau, Cadillac’s marketing director who becomes marketing director-retail Feb. 1. He added, "Super Bowl spots go off the playbook all the time."

Liz Vanzura, who assumes the post of global marketing director of Cadillac that same day, didn’t spell out the reasons but said the marketer is studying how to evolve ad themes, including the possibility of dropping the “Break Through” tagline. The theme broke during the 2002 Super Bowl broadcast and Cadillac last year said it led the luxury segment in ad awareness.

Fashion show
For its new spot, Cadillac rented a former airplane hangar in Los Angles to create a fashion show, complete with a 100-foot mirrored runway and hired supermodels such as Rachel Hunter, along with makeup artist Kabuki and 250 extras, said Don McKinney, creative director of Leo Burnett Detroit, Troy, Mich. The Publicis Groupe agency is finalizing special effects that will show the Escalade rising from what appears to be a chromed runway.

Escalade’s current buyer base is 60% male, yet Mr. Brancheau said the marketer isn’t concerned that a fashion-show themed ad will position the model as "chick-friendly" and therefore turn off guys.

Jaguar tried a similar route with its “Gorgeous” global campaign from Euro ESCG Fuel last fall that included online interviews with designers, restaurateurs and high-society members that some dealers criticized as skewing too female.

Jadakiss in Grammy spot
Cadillac will air different cuts of the commercial during the broadcasts for the Grammy Awards, Oscars and Olympics, said Jim Taylor, general manager of the division. Rapper Jadakiss will make a cameo appearance in the Grammy version.

But Cadillac’s plans for the Super Bowl don’t stop at TV spots, as the brand prepares to saturate the Super Bowl’s Motor City venue. On the ground in Detroit, Cadillac will hand over the keys to 400 vehicles bearing Super Bowl logos to the National Football League, and the brand will make available another 275 vehicles to shuttle VIPs during game week, Mr. Taylor said. Cadillac will also host its fourth annual Celebrity Grand Prix go-cart race Feb. 4, tied to the Super Bowl.

For the fifth consecutive year, Cadillac is also the presenting sponsor of the game’s MVP Award, offering the winner the model of his choice, and the Escalade will be on the field as the trophy is presented. TV viewers can vote online at Sports Illustrated’s Web site for the MVP; that polling will account for 20% of the tally, with the remainder coming from sports journalists. As part of an ad buy with the Time Inc. magazine, Cadillac has a presence in the title’s oversize booklet honoring each of the past 39 MVPs that will be distributed at area hotels.

Gas prices cited for sales slip
GM also plans Cadillac wraps for Detroit’s people mover elevated loop train; an Escalade building wrap near the stadium; and outdoor boards inside Ford Field and at the Greater Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Cadillac, moreover, teamed with ESPN the Magazine for a four-day VIP event that includes a brand-themed lounge. The brand is also the sponsor of USA Today’s special MVP section and has an Escalade ad on the back cover of the NFL’s official Super Bowl program.

U.S. sales of the SUV version of the Escalade slipped in 2005 to 29,876 units from 36,994 the prior year, according to Automotive News. Like other big SUVs, the model suffered from volatile gas prices last year. Of the $166 million the advertiser spent in measured media across all its models in the first 10 months of 2005, the Escalade received only $3 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

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