Cadillac Diversifies Media Approach for New Campaign Touting ‘Halo Vehicle’

'Never Stop Arriving' ads bring back actress Regina King and make a big push into podcasts

regina king in an escalade
Regina King is back behind the wheel of the new Escalade. Cadillac

Key Insights:

For Cadillac CMO Melissa Grady, every auto buyer is on a journey that resembles a fingerprint: each unique and individual, forging their own path to discovery.

And as the chief marketer, Grady is responsible for identifying them and introducing the brand. “Everyone is different. It’s hard to try and create an experience around,” she said. Diversifying her team’s approach is the aim of the brand’s newest campaign, “Never Stop Arriving,” created with Leo Burnett Detroit and Carat.

Instead of going all in on linear television, the 360-degree campaign—which features the return of actress and director Regina King as the brand’s spokesperson—will see Cadillac investing in podcast inserts called “The Roadblock.” The ads will spotlight the Escalade in over 1,000 podcasts for two weeks.

Roughly 20% of the ad buys are in addressable video, and the brand has partnerships with the likes of Twitch and the web series 60 Second Docs. What does run on television will air predominantly during the NBA Finals and NFL games.

King first began working with Cadillac last February when the actress starred in the “Make Your Way” campaign, which featured two spots that ran during the Academy Awards, a year after King took home the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk.

Digitally, Cadillac’s focus is regional—never more important than during a public health crisis—targeting areas where the brand is measuring shoppers’ willingness to purchase a car.

“The thing we’re paying attention to is consumer sentiment and making sure our messaging matches that sentiment and that our advertising is showing up where we have inventory,” Grady said. “People who are in the mood to buy a car, are ready to buy a car and we have cars available, that’s a market we’ll go in more heavily.”

Ad spending is on par with previous years, and Grady believes the new partnerships and channels will allow Cadillac a chance to test inventory to get an idea of what’ll work best for the brand.

Cadillac sales have fallen, largely due to the economic toll of the pandemic. This past August, Cadillac sold roughly 10,705 automobiles compared to 15,082 during the same period last year, according to auto consultancy Edmunds. While the Cadillac brand represents roughly only 5% of all sales for GM—meaning sales of the Escalade won’t make or break profitability for the company—its value is much greater.

“The Escalade is a very important vehicle because it’s so popular,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds. “It’s in pop culture; it’s their halo vehicle.”

Essentially, auto shoppers will seek out the Escalade even if it’s out of their price range. And after visiting a dealership or the brand’s digital platform, they might be drawn to GM’s cheaper vehicles. It’s similar to the buzz Ford created around its reborn Bronco brand earlier this summer.

Last year, GM revealed its highly anticipated all-electric Hummer in a Super Bowl spot narrated by LeBron James. However, don’t expect Cadillac to make a Big Game appearance this year.

“We’re looking at doing something big next year,” she said. “I don’t think that’ll be in the Super Bowl, but we’re open to the conversation.”

@RyanBarwick Ryan is a brand reporter covering travel, mobility and sports marketing.