Executives Defend Provocative Cadillac ELR Ad


After airing a commercial for the Cadillac ELR during the Olympics, Cadillac executives have come out defending the ad to clear up any “misconceptions.” Is GM already in damage control mode over the Cadillac ELR?

The advertisement is called “Poolside” and stars Neal McDonough as an all-American business guy decrying the useless of material things or month-long vacations. All that matters is work…and the Cadillac ELR, apparently. The advertisement definitely provoked conversation in the car world, and I lambasted the piece for wasting a minute of my time without telling me one damn thing about the car itself.

But according to Cadillac, reaction to the advertisement was three times more positive than negative. Cadillac’s advertising chief Craig Bierly says the ad spot is meant to serve as brand “provocation”, to get customers talking about the luxury car maker. In that regard, the commercial seems to have succeeded. Pundits on the left are crying over stagnant wages and the rise of poor-paying part-time jobs, while right-wingers celebrate the workaholic attitude that they say drives people to the top.

Blah blah blah blah. It’s a car commercial people, and I only wrote about it because, to me at least, it’s yet another stumbling block for the launch of an otherwise great car. The commercial doesn’t introduce the car in the least, and the high MSRP puts it in direct competition with cars like the Tesla Model S, which most people agree is the superior vehicle.

In fairness to Mr. Bierly, he says the ad is simply about saying that working hard is about making your own luck. I agree with that sentiment to an extent, and I really don’t expect a $76,000 vehicle to be marketed to the Average Joe. My only problem with the ad is that it tells me absolutely nothing about the car itself, and instead only divides people over the “message” of a freakin’ car commercial. “What we’re saying is that hard work has its payoffs.” Fair enough.

But instead of being a provocative vehicle, the Cadillac ELR and its first commercial appearence make the brand seem out-of-touch unwilling to admit what the car really is; a hybrid. To some people in the top tax bracket, hybrid is a dirty word. Early sales seem to indicate that GM has seriously overestimated the value of a luxury Volt, even though the car has managed to convert a few haters into hybrid drivers because despite all this, it’s still a very good car.

Please though, let us all take in the delicious irony that right-wing pundits are defending an even-more-expensive Chevy Volt. Should I laugh, or should I cry?

Source: Ad Age

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Jake Senco

    It’s GENIUS! Look at the YouTube comments about these commercials. Pages and pages of people arguing over whether the ad is too right wing or not. And not one person talking about the merits of electric! It’s a marvelous distraction. (Compare that to those of the Chevy Volt eco-commericals.) Prospective buyers may look at the luxury of the car first, then notice the electric as an added feature, rather than seeing it as another electric and thinking “oh hum, they pasted luxury on it”.

  • susannaschick

    finally watched that ad. I want to punch him in that fucking wink then tell him (assuming he’s CEO of some massive corporation) to quit hoarding cash and hire some goddamn people so the rest of us can even begin to dream about owning 1/10th the LA real estate he’s flaunting. This, my friends, is how the revolution begins. Although my first car was grandma’s Caddy, and I was proud to own it, the quality of living and the ability to succeed has greatly diminished as the wealth gap deepens in this country.

    Hard work my ass. Tell that to the black woman at the DMV who also has a night job to support her kids and can’t even dream of going to college. Or the immigrants out in the fields of California tending the produce we all love to eat. They work hard too. But I don’t see any of them driving around in Cadillacs. This makes me hate the brand more than ever. Just show some douche driving one and tell us what a great car it is, that it has enough range for MOM’s daily miles (I bet she drives a lot more than dad), and leave it at that. This bullshit rhetoric based on The Dead American Dream just pisses us off.

  • Important note: this ad was designed for another Cadillac (it’s a brand ad, not a model ad). The new CMO (from Germany, i think) had the idea of using the ELR instead after he came on board (and essentially inherited the ad). What I read.

    • Does that matter? I think the problem is that Cadillac holds up the very worst of America as an ideal. F*** Cadillac.

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