Tiering Up: Cadillac Wants Its Dealer Ads To ‘Dare Greatly’ Too

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Voice-Over | 0 comments

For all the money spent by auto companies and their dealers on car advertising, there remain huge disconnects between campaigns executed by the brands themselves and the “Tier 2″ and “Tier 3″ advertising paid for by regional dealer groups and individual dealers.

For Uwe Ellinghaus, chief marketing officer for Cadillac, this inconsistency among the three levels of advertising has emerged as an opportunity for improvement as he continues to overhaul the Cadillac brand.

In fact, as part of executing the brand’s new “Dare Greatly” positioning over the last few months, Ellinghaus and his lieutenants have made major efforts to extend the messaging and even the feel of Cadillac’s new brand-level national advertising into the regional and local-market TV and other advertisements that help dealers draw actual consumers to their showrooms.

“We simply needed to strengthen retail executions, giving them the same look and feel that ‘Dare Greatly’ has, not just, ‘Buy me, I’m cheap,’” Ellinghaus told me. “And so now,” he asserted, “we are the only automotive brand no longer doing retail-level communications that have completely their own look and feel.”

“There’s no such thing as ‘Tier 1′, ‘Tier 2′ or ‘Tier 3′ advertising: It’s all brand advertising.”

Traditionally, state-, regional-and local-market advertising by dealer groups and individual dealers bears only a tangential relationship to the themes of auto brands’ national campaigns. Even as important as Tier 1 positioning can be, and as expensive as it is to establish, Tier 2 and Tier 3 advertising typically has focused more on messages about individual models, sales rebates, lease incentives and special-occasion promotions.

One outside expert affirmed the problem and lauded Cadillac’s efforts to create more consistency among the tiers. “It’s important,” said Amit Nigam, director of product management at Eyeview, a New York-based outfit that has launched a digital platform to help dealers use Tier 1 video assets — like national brand commercials — and customize them to drive audiences to dealerships and influence offline sales. “There’s a gap between the emotional, brand-focused messaging of Tier 1 and the timely, regional communication of Tier 2.”

And further, Nigam said, “While Tier 2 is designed to help the Tier 3 guys [dealers], it isn’t necessarily something that flows, from the consumer perspective. There is inherent discontinuity” between most brands’ Tier 2 and Tier 3 advertising as well.”

To begin to address this problem, what Ellinghaus has in mind is exemplified by a new Cadillac ad that combines ‘Dare Greatly’ with a specific offer akin to typical Tier 2 or Tier 3 advertising. “Principles should never be compromised,” the ad’s female voiceover says, against scenes borrowed from the brand’s New York street imagery and shots of a new black SRX crossover parked in that environment. “Cadillac 2015 SRX. A crossover with space, safety and style. Lease it from aroun $339 a month for 24 months.”

He contrasted this ad with many of the conventional Tier 2 and Tier 3 TV commercials that have been aired lately by dealerships and dealership groups for rival luxury brands. These ads have included one that ran in the Baltimore market in late May for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA and a special lease deal. “Never before has this kind of passion, this kind of innovation, engineering, design and performance been available for this kind of price,” the voiceover said. There was no mention of the brand’s overarching national theme of the last two years, “The best or nothing.”

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