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Storytelling drives Cadillac

News, 08 June 2015

SAN FRANCISCO: Cadillac, the auto marque, is using storytelling not just as a means of selling cars, but to develop the idea of a broader "world that you might be interested in".

Sherrie Weitzman, Cadillac's national advertising manager, discussed this topic at the ad:tech San Francisco 2015 conference.

More specifically, she drilled down into the brand's "Dare Greatly" campaign, which draws direct inspiration from a Teddy Roosevelt speech given in 1910.

"We are using 'Dare Greatly' as our theme line," Weitzman said. (For more, including how the brand is using stories to inspire its agencies, read Warc's report: Cadillac "Dares Greatly" in repositioning.)

"It talks about the kind of brand that we are; the kind of world that we would like to create; and why this brand stands out from the other competitive set."

As evidence, the introductory TV ad for this effort, she continued, deliberately does not show a car in full, but focuses on the driving experience, supported by Roosevelt's words of encouragement for the "doer of deeds".

"There are no vehicles in that spot," Weitzman asserted. "We're not trying to sell vehicles. We're trying to create a story about a world – about a world that you might be interested in."

As a luxury brand, the idea underpinning Cadillac's thinking was capturing passion and emotion – two essential factors shaping high-end purchases, where rational messages are typically not the most powerful.

James Cockerille, global strategic lead at FutureBrand – Cadillac's partner in its brand reinvention – built on this theme while speaking alongside Weitzman.

"We want to create a rich and compelling world [with] lots of depth, lots of texture, lots of brilliance – the kind of world that you would want to step into, and you would never want to step out of; a world where gravity operates uniquely to the brand," he said.

"Ultimately, you want the product and brand to be relevant, if not essential."

Data sourced from Warc