December 6, 2013
No automotive company has done more to alter their brand’s image than Cadillac. Via edgy product design and mostly provocative creative approach to advertising, Cadillac has taken a tired symbol of wealth (the car for white grandpa’s and stereotypical black pimps) and fashioned it into an aggressive lineup of slick and sporty vehicles.
This transformation happened in recent memory. Which is only to say I can still remember the other Cadillac. Vividly. My grandfather had one. I loved playing with the power windows (then a newish feature) and pretending I was in a limo. In a funeral. Which, I suppose, was exactly the problem.
Whether we like the new Cadillac or will ever purchase one remains to be seen but we must give the automaker credit for trying and succeeding in making this epic change. A lot of things could have gone wrong.
I speak from experience. Back in the day I was part of the team at Leo Burnett responsible for invigorating the Oldsmobile brand. As with Cadillac, General Motors had totally redesigned their fleet. For advertising, we’d come up with the now famous (infamous?) “Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile.” Lots of history here, some controversial, which I’ve written about before. Regardless, less than a decade later Oldsmobile was out of business.
So, kudos to Cadillac! You made it into the 21st century. They and their marketing agencies deserve a lot of credit.
For me, two commercials define Cadillac’s transformation. The first one happened early on during Cadillac’s rebirthing. Visually, the spot was nothing out of the ordinary- just driving footage against beautiful scenery. But a couple things were decidedly different. First, the car itself had been conspicuously altered from every Caddy before it. So much so I’m not sure most folks (including me) had even liked it. With its bodacious lines and risky silhouette, I thought it was perhaps trying too hard to be different. Looking back I can better appreciate this radical design change. It took balls. Second, and to me just as conspicuous, was the spot’s usage of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock & Roll” for a soundtrack. Whether you consider Zep dinosaurs or not, nothing signified Cadillac’s resurgence better than this famously badass tune.
Been a long time since I did the stroll…
The other TVC I’d like to call out (posted up front) pays homage to all the great innovations and inventions having occurred in garages: HP, Apple, Amazon and numerous other hugely famous companies all mentioned by name. Including another iconic band, the garage-born Ramones! Then we see the new Cadillac coming out of a garage.
While I concede any new car could have starred in this commercial it was Cadillac that did. By linking itself to so many modern success stories, particularly in technology, Cadillac has once again has broken away from its history of being a pimp mobile or, worse yet, your grandfather’s champagne colored boat.
November 19, 2013
If ever there were a perfect example of corporate Goliath it would have to be Salesforce, the huger than huge Customer Relationship Management (CRM) company based in San Francisco. Founded by the polarizing Marc Benioff, Salesforce has almost as many haters as users. It’s basically the CRM standard but it’s a standard more and more people are perhaps growing weary of using.
Therefore, our client SugarCRM wanted to poke Goliath in its substantial ego as well as grab some of its growing legion of frustrated users. With it’s promise of “CRM you can relate to” SugarCRM and gyro created a mischievous scheme to unleash at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce this week at the Moscone Center, downtown San Francisco.
The central component to our tactic, entitled “Getaway from Dreamforce” was to get people in and around Dreamforce to take “Selfies” of themselves wearing branded SugarCRM tee-shirts then upload the pictures with hash tag(s) #DF13 and/or #SugarSelfie. A random winner could receive a “Dream Getaway” to Hawaii or the cash equivalent.
Getting people to blaspheme Marc Benioff’s grandiose celebration is what makes this program so damn fun. Sneaking into his party to do it is just the right amount of nasty.
Allow me to elaborate. Every “Selfie” is a representation of the individual. Literally of course. But also conceptually. In the context of Salesforce and Dreamforce the individual gets lost in Goliath’s dominating presence. Therefore, the surreptitious Selfie can be viewed as an affirmation for every “David” hiding in the shadows. The snap shot is like a slingshot!
Think about it. Selfies are the individual’s way to assert him -or herself. Like them or not, they are ubiquitous in global popular culture. Using these tiny ego blasts against a polarizing figure like Benioff and his self styled juggernaut of a company is just too perfect.
In some ways we are fighting fire with fire: many small egos versus one of the biggest egos in the land. Kismet. Our campaign is about asserting the individual over that of a company.
In addition to stimulating this rogue infiltration of Dreamforce, SugarCRM is also infiltrating smart phones in the immediate area with banners via geo-fencing as well as providing a slew of pithy messages on the tops of some of the very taxis bringing people to and from the Moscone Center.
Dreamforce and Salesforce are not going to be taken down by a bunch of Selfies but with these antics there is a heck of a chance that it will be impeded… at least philosophically. What Sugar CRM gains in recognition and new customers make it all worthwhile.