Cadillac is partnering with award-winning actress Regina King as a brand ambassador and the star of a campaign for its flagship 2021 Escalade SUV.
Themed “Never Stop Arriving,” the effort from Leo Burnett Detroit begins in October. King is featured in the spot and also does the voiceover.
King, who recently won an Emmy for her performance in “Watchmen,” and an Oscar in 2019 for her performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” helped introduce the Escalade earlier this year in a commercial during the Oscars broadcast.
Cadillac aims to frame itself as a brand that is “fearless, innovative and one where we never stop pushing boundaries,” said Melissa Grady, Cadillac chief marketing officer. “‘Never Stop Arriving’ is really about a state of fearless evolution, and that's what we all did this year: We evolved."
The brand launched the “Make Your Way” tagline during the Oscars in the Escalade reveal spot. But the tonality shifted during the pandemic, because “that wasn’t the kind of energy anyone needed,” Grady tells Marketing Daily. “We changed our advertising during the pandemic about every two weeks. They were little differences — different music, different messaging — because we were all in a different place.”
Advertising started to return to more of the pre-pandemic energy in June, and Cadillac opted to sign King on for the launch spots.
“We’ve stayed with her because as you look at her own personal evolution and where we are, it's so closely aligned,” Grady said. “I'm very big on the words on the page before we do the creative, and as soon as we got these words on the page I realized there's never been a better phrase for the Escalade, which really created this category and has redefined it throughout its 20-year history: It never stops arriving."
King, who is also an activist, paid tribute to Breonna Taylor at the Emmys. Under a pink pantsuit, the actress wore a T-shirt with Taylor’s face and name on it.
“She’s really speaking out about where the world needs to be in a way that I think is where Cadillac also wants to be,” Grady says. "What I always say is, you can't have bold without sophisticated and you can't have sophisticated without bold, because then it's not Cadillac. When you look at Regina, she is both bold and sophisticated. … If you think about a state of fearless evolution -- I’ve done this, but I’m not satisfied, what else can I do, how do I keep innovating? She just so aligns with that.”
The campaign’s themes of bravery, resiliency and overcoming obstacles not only reflect King’s personal road to success, but the challenges overcome by the campaign’s director, Dee Rees, and award-winning director of photography Rachel Morrison. These three women have brought to life via the campaign how each of them, the Escalade and Cadillac continually evolve to lead the future, always with a focus on what’s next. In that regard, the Escalade, Cadillac, and these three "incredible" women never stop arriving, Grady says.
The effort will also include a partnership with Republic Records that will help play up the vehicle’s new industry-leading sound system.
The 2021 Escalade is completely redesigned for 2021 with advances including a curved Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screen, the first AKG automotive audio system and Cadillac’s Super Cruise driver assistance technology for compatible highways.