Publicis Celebrates Unity in ‘Carry’ Oscars Spot for Cadillac

By Erik Oster 

Publicis created a spot for Cadillac entitled “Carry” which celebrates unity as part of its ongoing “Dare Greatly” campaign for the brand. “Carry” will run during the Academy Awards, an event all but guaranteed to carry a political tinge this year.

“We are a nation divided,” the voiceover begins at the opening of the 60-second spot, over black-and-white footage of a protest. “That’s what they tell us, right? This chasm between us.”

“But what they don’t tell you,” he continues, as the footage shifts to color, “what doesn’t make the news, is this,” and the remainder of the ad focuses on moments of unity. A cop hugs a protester, two softball players carry an opponent off the field. The spot concludes with the message, “…maybe what we carry isn’t just people, it’s an idea, that while we’re not the same, we can be one, and all it takes is the willingness to dare,” leading in to the “Dare Greatly” tagline.

While a continuation of the “Dare Greatly” campaign, the spot is a notable departure from Publicis’ Oscars ad for the brand last year, “Don’t You Dare,” which told the stories of a series of young over-achievers daring to defy the odds in their respective fields.

Publicis New York brought on Andy Clarke as executive creative director for Cadillac last April.

In December, we learned that casting agency The Cast Station had issued a call for a Cadillac “Real People” ad searching to fill a role for an “Alt-Right (Neo-Nazi)”, specifying the call was in search of  “REAL Alt-Right believers/thinkers.” The ad was described in the casting call as a “beautifully artistic spot that is captureing [sic] all walks of life in America. Standing together as a Union.”

The eventual Oscars spot from Publicis appears to share some of these themes, although, thankfully, dropping the “real people” casting along with the inclusion of any alt-right extremists. The resulting ad communicates its “unity” message in a relatively uncontroversial way, although we’re sure some people will still find something to object to.

“There’s quite a bit of soul searching going on in the nation right now, and the creative community, in particular, is experiencing it at an intense level,” Cadillac director of brand marketing Melody Lee told Adweek. “It was important for us, as a brand, to try to make a statement, not politically and not necessarily socially, but to remind the country that we’re at our best when we come together.”

“The Oscars is the Super Bowl of pop culture,” Lee added. “It has the second-largest live audience after the Super Bowl, so it fits with our strategy of putting Cadillac at the center of culture. Our efforts are built around restoring the brand to where it used to be, as an icon of pop culture. Our goal is to build emotional resonance with the Gen X and Gen Y crowd, and this year, we’re trying to build historical relevance as well.”

Adweek reports that Publicis agency Rokkan worked on three additional spots which will also run during the Academy Awards: “Pedestal,” “Pioneers” and a performance-minded look at the Cadlillac CTS-V.