He goes on to take a quick swipe at the French for strolling home, stopping by the café and taking the whole month of August off while a funky acoustic guitar track adds a cool underlay to the spot. (see the spot below)
“Why aren’t we like that?” he asks (good question!), and then answers himself by pointing out how hard Americans work, including examples of exceptional citizens like the Wright brothers, Bill Gates, Les Paul and Mohammed Ali, while walking through a contemporary-styled, upscale home where he greets one of his kids with an easy palm slap and his wife gives him a coy smile as they pass by each other in the kitchen. He then enters the bedroom, only to emerge a blink later dressed in a gray suit and light blue tie, clearly prepared to conquer the world.
Shortly we see him approach his new charcoal gray Cadillac ELR, pull a plug from its side (Aha!! It’s electric!) and fire the thing up, its Buck Rogers digital dash glowing in anticipation of a stimulating ride to the office. This is no boring hybrid, we see, the car’s aggressive styling speaking volumes about the lack of speed limits for a success-saturated man like this!
Before he drives off, our hero seems to pitch the work hard/play hard ethic he equates with an America where “everything is possible. As for all the stuff,” he concludes, “that’s the upstart of taking only two months off in August!” Ta-da! you French slugs!
I could easily do without the copywriter’s philosophizing, as in “You work hard, you create your own luck,” but have to admire the craft. It’s an effective spot, which moves viewers quickly through the story to focus on the car, which for some reason just sits there at the end of the spot while Mr. Wonderful gives us a tacky wink and takes another unnecessary poke at the French. I'd much rather see him launch himself -- and the Caddy -- out of frame.
Sure, the aspirational nature of the ad bothers some folks – but so what? Cadillac wasn’t aiming at the sour grapes crowd or people like me who long ago lost the new car lust and can’t afford one anyway. They’re shooting at a demographic more likely to show up at their nearest Cadillac dealer to check the ELR out: prospects with $200,000 incomes and a "little bit of grit under their fingernails ... people who haven't been given anything (because) every part of success they've achieved has been earned through hard work and hustle." (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-cadillac-irked-viewers-with-its-oscars-ad/)
A point lost in all the values-driven fuss: the ad demonstrates how far Cadillac has come in both styling and performance since the late ‘80s and early ‘90s when GM took the first strategic baby steps away from the big bloated beasts Cadillac had been marketing, automobiles that were about as far from The Standard of the World as one could get.
Like the ad or hate the ad, that’s progress!
TakeAway: Tell a compelling story that positions your product squarely with your target market. And ignore the naysayers.