Cadillac is perhaps America’s original name in luxury. The brand has inspired movies, songs, band names, and more thanks to its classic American style, and, like the Yankees, Jack Daniels, and Harley Davidson, became a symbol of American values, if you will.
But like a lot of heritage brands, the Cadillac name is often closer associated with its past than the present. This new spot by agency Rogue and director Brennan Stasiewicz, starring Neal McDonough, is a swing for the fences to give the brand some modern day swagger.
Of course, with lines about other countries taking the month of August off and that with hard work you can make your own luck (pro tip: don’t look for that line in GM’s 2009 bankruptcy filings), to some this will sound like part of a cringe-worthy xenophobic anthem for the 1%. To others it’s a tribute to good ol’ fashioned elbow grease.
Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell says the spot reflects the changes in how success is achieved today. “People are much more likely to change careers, maybe start their own business, that kind of thing, which requires a certain optimism, and importantly, determination,” he says. “We know that luxury items, like cars, can be a recognition for that work and achievement. The key is just that opening line, ‘Why do we work so hard?’ That’s the premise.”
The ad is clearly meant to stir patriotic sentiment, but Caldwell isn’t worried that possibly offending foreign sensibilities will affect the brand’s international image. “We’re growing outside the U.S.,” he says. “Consumers value authenticity, especially in luxury. I’ll use China as an example. We’re growing strongly there. One the most positive aspects in that market is that it is an American brand, with the authentic character implicit in that fact. It makes Cadillac a natural alternative to the status quo.”