Cadillac Leo Burnett, Detroit

Dolce & Gabbana, Prada … Cadillac? Leo Burnett’s “Chrome Couture” Super Bowl spot puts GM’s 2007 Cadillac Escalade in the middle of a swanky fashion show.

“We wanted to marry the Escalade with this world of glamour and fashion,” says executive creative director Tor Myhren.

“Styling first and foremost has made the current Escalade,” adds Kevin Smith, manager, Cadillac communications. “We wanted to focus on that element.”

Authenticity was key, so the agency hired Colleen Atwood, costume designer for movies including Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago, to create the chrome outfits—including chrome shoes, bracelets and makeup. In less than two weeks, eight original dresses were created for the chrome couture line, and supermodel Oluchi Onweagba served as lead model.

To shoot the one-off 60-second spot, a mock fashion show was produced in an airplane hangar in Los Angeles for three days in mid-December. DJs were hired to keep the crowd of 150 extras energetic between takes. Star cameos include Rachel Hunter, Jadakiss and Marcus Allen in the crowd.

Video and commercial director Jeffrey Plansker was enlisted to give the ad some grit. “Though it is a fashion show, we didn’t want it to be overly pretty and soft, and one thing Jeffrey does very well is give film a very realistic, hard edge,” Myhren says.

Despite all the effort, the shoot was almost entirely waylaid by a crucial detail: A crane was to lift the car 15 feet onto the runway for the end of the fashion show, and they didn’t have time to test the crane before the shoot to see if it could lift the car high enough. “We were very nervous for a moment on the set,” Myhren says. Fortunately, the crane worked—with only two to three inches to spare.

The pressure to complete the ad was tremendous. “You can’t be late, you can’t push back an extra week, the Super Bowl isn’t going to move for you,” Myhren says. “With the cost of media and the viewership, it sort of ups the ante on everything you do.”