Cadillac Going Rogue, With New Agency

Cadillac has a new agency and it's really new. Kind of like Lincoln Motor’s Hudson Rouge, or to some extent, Hyundai’s Innocean USA, the General Motors luxury division has gotten its own dedicated agency, Rogue, a collaboration between Interpublic Group's Hill Holliday, and Campbell-Ewald. Lowe will coordinate global strategy. 

The new agency will be in Campbell-Ewald’s Detroit-area office, with much of the creative and strategy work located in Hill Holliday’s Boston office, per the automaker.

“Our open architecture model brings together outstanding IPG talent with deep knowledge of both autos and the luxury consumer -- domestically and around the world,” said Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO of Interpublic Group, in a statement. 



Cadillac has also added FleishmanHillard for strategic communications counsel to the brand and to help it reach new customers in fashion, luxury, and technology arenas.

The automaker had been with Fallon for three years or so, having replaced Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Craig Bierley, global advertising director for Cadillac, tells Marketing Daily that the automaker had been happy with Fallon's work but, with a raft of new global products coming down the pike, a rethink was needed. 

“We have a huge opportunity to expand going forward, and really grow Cadillac into a global luxury brand; we have unprecedented numbers of new products, and we wanted world-"class execution. This was the time to step back and see who could best help us achieve this." The first out of the dock will be the next-generation CTS, the first global version of the car. 

Rogue will handle North America, replacing Fallon, and Lowe will help manage global collaboration among different regional agencies. "China has its own agency; the Middle East, as well, for example, so we need to develop a model where we can listen to their needs." 

But, per Bierley, the new agency group wasn't done solely for global creative efficiencies. "We did it to have the best creative resources and integration, and the best [agency] thinking to help do it."

Cadillac had approached Publicis' Fallon with news that the account was in review, and Fallon CEO Mike Buchner threw his hat in the ring, per Bierley, who adds that Cadillac also approached Publicis proper asking for bids from Digitas and for planning resources from Hal Riney. Then Michael Roth at IPG came back with Hill Holliday and Campbell-Ewald, tagging the collaboration “Rogue.” “Then we went to Omnicom's DDB Worldwide because we have used them for diversity work.”  

Bierley says Rogue went over the top partly because of it understanding of Cadillac's prospect demo/psychographic and how to build creative that speaks to them. "There was really an opportunity to understand the target customer. Most luxury brands tell you things about the car. We obviously see a role for product-focused communications, but we also see that speaking to the target audience around real insights is what will break through; it's what will  be memorable. They all had elements of that, but it was really came down to who best understood how to connect with our target." 

Cadillac, per Bierley, is wrapping up its own in-house ethnographic work to answer those questions, and find out who the early adopters are, who the ATS customer has been. That car has been as much a watershed for the brand as the first-generation CTS was 10 years ago, when Mark LaNeve was at the helm, and the company was in "do-or-die" mode.  

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