Creative Campaigns: A Brand New Cadillac

D’Arcy remakes GM flagship with art & science
“The Power of &,” a new Cadillac image campaign from D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, is making grammarians a little uneasy, admits Jon Parkinson, D’Arcy senior vp and executive creative director on Cadillac brands.
It wasn’t the intention of the tagline, but it’s an added benefit, he claims, since the goal of the campaign, which debuted last month with two 30-second spots, is to dramatically reposition the Cadillac brand. Cadillac won’t disclose spending, but spent a total of $189 million in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
While both print and TV ads feature images of cars, an emphasis was placed on “humanizing” the design and technology with friendly images, says Parkinson.
In the first spot, which broke Nov. 15, a man’s profile is followed by a woman in a modern wedding dress, standing in front of a moonlit sea. The white bars of a park bench in front of a field of red tulips form the stripes next to stars, as the voiceover explains: “The Power of &. It unifies man & woman. Joins stars & stripes. It’s the way two things together equal more than they total apart. Using the Power of &, Cadillac is combining design & technology in inspiring new ways. In each and every instance, Cadillac is fusing design & technology to create vehicles that truly transport you.”
One series of shots that appear in both the branding spots and an ad for the newly redesigned DeVille, which broke over the Thanksgiving weekend, show how a Cadillac driver uses the world’s first available “night vision” system to spot a deer in the road.
At the end of each commercial, the ampersand morphs into the recently restyled Cadillac wreath and crest logo. The logo colors are heavily emphasized throughout the spots, which feature red, yellow and blue-tinged visuals. The agency chose to use Velvia film stock from Fuji, says Claire Cavanagh, senior vice president and director of broadcast at D’Arcy, to produce more intense colors.
Since last January, Cadillac has been “re-embracing its roots” as a design innovator with an internal emphasis on the company’s ability to merge art and science. So when Cadillac wanted an inclusive branding effort for all its models, many of which will be redesigned in the next few years, D’Arcy creatives turned naturally to the words “art and science.”
The idea for the tagline came to Parkinson as he was falling asleep. After thinking about the theme art and science for some time, he says, his mind zeroed in on the ampersand linking the two words.
When he presented it to the creative group the next day, you could see the light bulbs going on in their heads, he says. It didn’t take long for the team to generate examples of how the merging of two ideas or entities can result in a sum “that’s greater than the two parts.”
All future campaigns for individual car lines will feature the new tagline and have the same kind of quick-cut imagery.
As for any discomfort with the new approach of the Cadillac ads, Parkinson hopes it will help shift consumers’ perceptions. “If they like the brand, then they’ll pick the product,” he says. K
General Motors’ Cadillac Division
Agency: D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich.
Executive Creative Director: Jon Parkinson
Senior Copywriters: Gary Howell, Merritt Fritchie
Senior Art Director: Sherry Charles
Executive Producer: Heidi Nolting
Director of Broadcast: Claire Cavanagh
Senior Producer: Leslie Rose
Producer: Rob McKinney
Director: Robert Logevall
Production Co.: Bruce Dowad & Associates, Los Angeles
Director of Photography: George Scali
Graphic Design: Imaginary Forces, Los Angeles
Music: Tomandandy, Los Angeles
Editors: Karen Knowles, Paul Bertino, King Cuts, Los Angeles
Voiceover: Demrot Mulroney