Cadillac is showing off the upcoming XT4 before its official debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show by tossing it into a handful of commercials scheduled during theÂ 90th Academy Awards. While the television spots seem to be intended to whet appetites prior to the vehicle’s launch later this fall, it’s the best look we’ve had at the model to date.Â That said, careful lighting and smoke machines allowed the XT4 to show plenty of leg without unbuckling its belt and giving us a real show.
The overall design is on par with what we’ve come to expect from present-day Cadillac, with vertical headlights cutting deeply into the front fenders. However, it looks to be a more shapely SUV than everything else the brand currently offers. Styling was clearly a priority here, and every element that identifies a model as a Cadillac appears to have been exaggerated without going too far.Â
With three ads geared up, Cadillac features the XT4 in two of them. The model is the primary focus in one spot, backed by the song Uptown Funk byÂ Mark Ronson. In the other, it only makes a brief cameo as the brand highlights all the things that makes it great. While both can be accused of lacking substance, the brand should be praised for highlighting its productsÂ instead of trying to achieve consumer loyalty though a tacked-onÂ narrative.
Last year’s Oscar ads from Cadillac took some heat for being tooÂ sanctimonious and focused on New York City. They weren’t terrible, but the brand took note ofÂ criticisms from dealers and outside experts and adjusted the game plan for 2018. Regardless, Cadillac’s marketing has vastly improved since its “Dare Greatly” campaign from 2015 â€” which associated the company’s vehicles with important people changing the world.
“Luxury brands donâ€™t sell products, they sell dreams,” Cadillac’s then chief marketing officer, Uwe Ellinghaus, said at the time.
One of the ads didn’t even feature a product, just a woman narrating President Theodore Rooseveltâ€™s â€œMan in the Arenaâ€� speech while we watched a POV shot from some vehicle’s bumper as it tooled aroundÂ Manhattan.
“We thought we started off in a good place leaving last year’s Oscars, just in terms of making our products front and center,” Cadillac Director of Marketing Renee Rauchut told Automotive News in a recent interview. “I think looking at the past couple of years of ‘Dare Greatly,’ that wasn’t always the case.”
We would agree and, thankfully, those strange days appear to be over. Conveying sentiment is important in any car ad because people often make purchasing decisions for emotional reasons. But it’s incredibly easy to take things one step too far. Fortunately, the new commercials take about 15 steps back in the right direction, letting people know Cadillac is not some weird new religion â€” rather, it’s a quality automaker providing innovative products that it’s proud of.
The ads will air Sunday evening and the 2019 XT4 will be at the New York Auto Show later this month.
[Images: General Motors]