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Cadillac is Going Rogue
By: Don McLean
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Cadillac is "Going Rogue." No, not in the Sarah Palin-esque style after which she so eloquently titled her memoir. Rather, in its advertising switch from Fallon Worldwide to three firms from the Interpublic Group of Companies simply called "Rogue." Rogue is comprised of Campbell Ewald (Detroit), Hill Holiday (Boston), and Lowe (London).

“Our open architecture model brings together outstanding IPG talent with deep knowledge of both autos and the luxury consumer — domestically and around the world,” said Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO of Interpublic Group. “Our offering will be comprised of the exceptional creative capabilities of Hill Holliday, a powerful base of operations in Detroit thanks to Campbell Ewald, and Lowe’s dynamic international network."

Back in March, Bill Shea at Crain's Detroit Business told the public that Cadillac would be taking the reins of its advertising back from Fallon Worldwide and giving it to Campbell Ewald. Tuesday, Shea announced that "Campbell Ewald hired as part of Cadillac ad account switch." The focus has been on Campbell Ewald because of its long history with the General Motors brands. Leo Burnett actually held the Cadillac advertising account from 1935 until 2007.

Cadillac has been in the news recently for their large gains in global sales. Last week, Bob Ferguson, Vice President Global Cadillac, tweeted "Where were you in 1976? Cadillac's sales increase of 40% YTD is the largest since '76... fastest-growing major auto brand in the U.S.!"

While Campbell Ewald penned legendary campaigns for Chevrolet such as "See the USA in Your Chevrolet" in the early days and "Like a Rock" more recently, Leo Burnett was also focused on legendary work — building Cadillac as the gold standard of excellence. Think about it further; Cadillac is so ingrained in the subconscious of many Americans that you may not even realize it. How many times have you thrown the name around as a term meaning the best?

Fallon, Modernista, and Bartle Bogle Hegarty have all done a fine job with Cadillac since 2007 but the 72-year history of Leo Burnett's work should not go unrecognized. "The Cadillac Standard" is one that has been unmatched in the American vocabulary. Have you every heard your boss ask a vendor for the Cadillac while discussing a software solution? Have you ever heard someone who lost their phone say "I don't need the Cadillac, just something to get me by"? Have you ever heard a doctor say "this is the Cadillac" of a specific piece of high quality equipment? These questions could never stop. Chances are, you answered "yes" to one of these.

The aforementioned questions make you realize the extraordinary reach of the Cadillac brand and the shoes that Rogue needs to fill. The Detroit News quoted Cadillac Global Advertising Director Craig Bierley as saying, "The first TV ads created by Rogue — which may show an increased human and emotional connection — will air in the fall."

This increased human and emotional connection in the campaign is sure to touch on the idea of the "The Cadillac Standard." While other over-100-year-old brands are falling by the wayside, Cadillac is continually re-energizing itself in maintaining its high standards.

If you were creating the new generation of advertising for Cadillac would you go bold and different or focus on modernizing its well-rooted heritage?

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About the Author
Don McLean, MBA is an account supervisor at Airfoil Group, an independent marketing and public relations firm serving tech companies and innovation-centric brands with offices in Detroit, New York and Silicon Valley. Follow Don on twitter at@mclean_don.  
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