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Cadillac Expands Customer Base with New Ads

Now that Cadillac has hip hoppers, jocks, and oldsters in its grip, the carmaker wants to expand its appeal to young people, women, and baby boomers. A new ad campaign breaking next week departs from past efforts centered on the Led Zeppelin song "Rock and Roll." It features the people Cadillac wants to attract. For example, one print ad shows a young blonde woman hanging out with a friend in a Cadillac. Another has a young man and his friend in a Cadillac DTS, the brand's most traditional-looking sedan. The new marketing approach runs the risk of alienating buyers who flocked to Cadillac in recent years, boosting sales by 37 percent from 2001 to 2005. The rebound was sparked by older buyers, who favor the CTS sedan, and urban rappers, who followed the lead set by athletes like Shaquille O'Neal. The basketball star liked the Cadillac Escalade SUV with its heavy chrome styling. But while the brand's popularity with rappers and athletes boosted its cool factor, Cadillac executives worried that it would turn off mainstream consumers, such as housewives. And lately, Cadillac sales have flagged: Its market share was flat last year, and sales are down 9 percent for the first six months this year, according to Autodata Corp.



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