If you didn't know what a Cadillac ELR was before last month, there's a good chance you're very familiar with this plug-in luxury coupe now. It's all because of this cringeworthy TV commercial, but it did exactly what Cadillac wanted to do.
In an interview with Automotive News, Cadillac's global marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus was initially unnerved by the ad known as "Poolside," where it's about a minute of talking about American accomplishments.
We would break through the clutter and generate a hell of a lot of buzz. Mission accomplished.
The basic structure of "Poolside" isn't bad, it's just inelegant and abrupt in the way it tries to evoke national pride and then uses the wrong car. The decision to promote the ELR was Ellinghaus' last-minute decision to counter feelings the ad came off as "snobby."
I brought this up a month ago in my original analysis of the ad, but "Poolside" actually would work fine with one of Cadillac's sedans – the ones that are generally regarded as among the best in their respective classes. Cars that actually look like that extra two weeks in August Americans supposedly work while Europeans are on a beach actually paid off.
The ELR's fuel economy and emissions may be more socially acceptable, but a $76,000 car that is a beautifully redressed Chevy Volt still doesn't ooze responsibility. Nor does it show American innovation or ingenuity at its best.
In short, what was a heavy handed ad in the first place was made worse by showcasing one of their more half-hearted products. But at least we're all talking about a Cadillac no one's buying.