Cadillac paves the way for its electric future at the Oscars

Dive Brief:

  • Cadillac premiered a new video advertisement during Sunday night’s Academy Awards broadcast to introduce its first electric vehicle. “Lighting the Way” shows a young woman morphing into a business leader over time, representing how people can use their internal drive to improve themselves and the world. The light-oriented creative concept stems from the 2023 Lyriq vehicle’s unique lighting designs, according to Cadillac CMO Melissa Grady.
  • The General Motors luxury brand premiered its new Lyriq spot to kick off a broader campaign, called “The Light Makers,” which expanded on Monday through homepage takeovers, a Twitter activation, out-of-home billboards and an online visualizer that uses gaming technology to let people digitally interact with the vehicle and learn more.
  • Cadillac has long used the Oscars as a platform to introduce new products or marketing campaigns. With its eighth appearance during the awards ceremony, the carmaker is positioning the Lyriq as the cornerstone for its electric vehicle future in the coming decade, per Grady.

Dive Insight:

Cadillac’s campaign for its first electric vehicle arrives just three months after parent company General Motors refreshed its brand to reflect a growing focus on electric models. At the same time, the Lyriq was part of GM’s 2021 CES showcase, where it showed off the company’s Super Cruise driver assistance technology, which also appeared in the “Lighting the Way” ad during the Oscars.

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Super Cruise is a continual theme in recent Cadillac marketing, taking center stage during last year’s Super Bowl and Oscars broadcasts in commercials for the Escalade SUV. Actress-director Regina King starred in the 2020 Oscars campaign, “Never Stop Arriving,” and again in a Cadillac effort last fall. Now as the voice behind the new Lyriq spot, she continues the brand story as an embodiment of Cadillac’s values, according to Grady.

“There is this inherent Cadillac DNA that is about people who are driven; they keep pushing themselves, they always want to do more for themselves and for the world,” Grady said.

Cadillac first began advertising at the Oscars in 2013 when its marketing team learned it shared overlapping audiences with the awards ceremony. Since then, it has leveraged the annual broadcast as a channel to introduce new products or marketing messages.

“The Oscars allow you a moment to step back and be a little bit more cinematic in your advertising. It’s a moment when people want that,” Grady said. The annual awards show, as well as the Super Bowl, provide marketers the space to tell more complicated brand stories that are bespoke to the broadcasts’ audiences, she added.

Despite the Oscars drawing record-low viewership Sunday, Cadillac isn’t phased. Grady noted there was significant social media chatter about the brand throughout the awards ceremony. Cadillac will start taking reservations for the Lyriq in September, before the vehicle hits the pavement in March 2021. Until then, per Grady, the carmaker will share a “constant drumbeat of communications” to promote its models and broader electric vehicle ambitions.

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