The kiss of death for any advertising campaign is when the power brokers at the ad agency and client say “selling product isn’t the goal of the advertising, elevating the brand is.” Ouch. Double ouch. This type of defeatist attitude is so transparent. Something’s wrong — either with the product or the advertising.
These were the paraphrased words of Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun in today’s NYT, when discussing the new Cadillac campaign.
Cadillac advertising has actually been pretty good the last few years, even with the churn in ad agencies. But it has been product design – the boring and sometimes ugly cars – that has kept sales down. I love new campaigns. And the one launching on the Academy Awards Sunday is likely to be topical, political and powerful. But if some metal doesn’t start leaving he showrooms the brand won’t elevate. People need to buy, drive and talk about the cars. Not the advertising.