Cadillac Plays Safe With Follow-Up ELR Ad After ‘Poolside’ Raised Eyebrows


So far, Cadillac’s ELR plug-in hybrid coupe is looking like a tough sell. Style-wise, it has it down; it looks good — modern, clean, simple, and crisp with what is arguably Cadillac’s most luxurious and comfortable interior to date. However, it’s minimal power — 207 horsepower, rather anemic for the luxury segment — and its atmospheric price tag of $75,000 has proven hard to justify with many.

Not helping its cause was the first TV spot for the ELR, titled Poolside. The ad went viral — which is good — but not for the right reasons. It featured actor Neil McDonough, who does a phenomenal job in the role, and by several measures, it was a damned good ad. But it drew criticisms for glorifying a largely materialistic culture, despite it being an attempt to celebrate American capitalism. Even Cadillac’s marketing chief, Uwe Ellinghaus, said the spot could come off as being “snobby, arrogant, a little aloof.”

However, the spot got people talking, and not that it has everyone’s attention, Cadillac has released its second spot for the car, and it’s about as controversial as a slice of bread. Dull? No. But not controversial. In fact, it’s very informative, and lends the most in-depth minute-long explanation as to how the car works that we’ve seen yet.

However, David Caldwell, who is the manager of Cadillac communications, told AutoblogGreen that the new video is not slated for TV, and is completely different because it’s meant for a different audience. “It doesn’t have any direct relation to Poolside,” he said. “TV advertising is not necessarily the heart of marketing something like the ELR. Notwithstanding the fact that we had a very thought-provoking ad.”

TV is “not going to be the predominant methodology,” for Cadillac used to sell the ELR, Caldwell told AutoBlog. “The web is closer to what you need to do to reach people. We definitely have a need to communicate what the ELR is. It’s not television advertising at all.”

More videos like the one above will follow in tow over time as Cadillac continues to evolve its ELR marketing schematics. However, it’s hard to ignore the lack of a clear defined market for the ELR; at that price point, many buyers will likely prefer Tesla’s Model S, which doesn’t use gasoline at all, and is more powerful, more practical, and arguably better looking — depending on who’s asking. The ELR is shooting for a really small segment of the population, so getting the marketing mix right will pose a challenge.

We’ll wait to see what videos surface in the future before making further judgements. If you’ve forgotten what Poolside is all about, we’ve included it below for your viewing pleasure.