Daring or Dumb?

By Denise Hollingsworth | VP, Group Strategy Director

As you may know, Cadillac is repositioning the luxury car brand. They want to wipe the slate clean. They’ve gone so far as to disconnect with their parent brand, GM, by physically moving away from its Detroit headquarters into the trendy SoHo area of NYC. They’ve also decided their Boomer target audience is tiring (probably not a bad assumption), and have leapt over Gen Y to focus on Gen X. They sport a new campaign line “Dare Greatly” (a far cry from the previous,“Work Hard. Be Lucky.”—what does that even mean?). They’ve fired their Detroit agency and hired one in New York.

But a new location, a new target audience and a new agency, do not a new brand make. It’s hard to believe it could be true, what with all the work that’s gone into these decisions, but it sure looks like these separate moves may be ignoring the intersection between culture, brand and target audience—an alignment that is necessary in a successful repositioning formula. You can’t just wish a new reality true. It has to be true. So I wonder, is this a brave move for Cadillac or a move that will prove fatal?