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During last year’s Oscars, Cadillac launched a new brand image with its “Dare Greatly” campaign. It highlighted ambitious achievers like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and designer Jason Wu. This year, the automaker unveiled the next chapter of its campaign with nine inspiring young innovators, including a 19-year-old who developed a prosthetic limb that can be operated with the mind. Uwe Ellinghaus, CMO of Cadillac, spoke with eMarketer’s Rimma Kats about this new initiative, which was unveiled at the 88th Academy Awards.
eMarketer: Who are you aiming to reach with this new campaign?
Uwe Ellinghaus: We need to reach out to Generation X and Y more—just like every other brand. By 2020, 80% of all new car sales will be made by Generation X and Y. Baby boomers will no longer dominate this market.
The majority of baby boomers are very much interested in football, in motor sports, in golf in particular and in tennis, but Generation X and Y customers are far more interested in entertainment, music, fashion, design and architecture. That means they are far more likely to sit and watch the Oscars than the Super Bowl.
eMarketer: Why launch the next chapter of this campaign at the Oscars again?
Ellinghaus: We want to shift money towards the areas of interest of younger audiences. The Oscars are a great conceptual link because Cadillac has always had this association with fashion, with music, entertainment and Hollywood.
We also didn’t just want to run your usual car ad. Last year we had one very controversial line in our communication. It said, “How dare a 112-year-old car manufacturer reinvent itself?” We wanted to show just how much Cadillac has changed. We disrupted their perception. We had a communication out that caused them to go onto DareGreatly.com or Cadillac.com to find out more.
eMarketer: How did this year’s campaign differ from last year’s?
Ellinghaus: In contrast to last year, we deliberately decided to go to people that dared greatly at a very young age. For me, this is the boldest form of daring greatly.
The protagonists that we ended up with aren’t anywhere near as well-known as last year’s were. They haven’t achieved as much as Steve Wozniak undoubtedly has, but they were already very bold thinkers early on in their life.
eMarketer: Was this just a TV campaign, or did you use other channels to get the word out?
Ellinghaus: We digitally revealed more about the stories of the protagonists. We had a huge social activation program that kicked in during the Oscars weekend.
eMarketer: There are so many screens that consumers look at these days—the space is becoming very fragmented. How are you overcoming that and making sure you’re top of mind?
Ellinghaus: Nobody has figured that out. We all try to stay ahead, but we still underestimate social media as part of the digital experience.
We learned last year that what is said about our work there and what spreads in communities in social media now often sets the tone of what traditional media reports about certain activities.
Positive or negative, you have this instant feedback and this is something that digital natives really want. They want feedback. They want immediate interaction, and in this regard, we can only learn from the Facebooks and Twitters of this world.
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