Cadillac Show Seeks Younger Buyers

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Cadillac launched the first infomercial in its history Aug. 24 promoting the Seville STS. Cadillac hopes the infomercial will generate sales leads and make people think favorably of the Seville STS vs. comparable models from Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.


Cadillac is also wants to attract younger car buyers, and selected Mark Goodman, a former MTV video jockey, to host the show.


"The other cars in the infomercial are the ones that Seville is usually paired up with," said Michael Albano, communications manager for the Seville Marketing Division. "When people are shopping for luxury sedans, they are not stopping in their Cadillac dealers and they are not putting us on their shopping lists."


Although the infomercial focuses on the 1999 Seville STS, Cadillac does not consider the timing to be late. "The 2000 Seville STS is very similar to the '99 STS, although there are some changes," Albano said. "But what the show highlights is consistent in the 2000, and aesthetically the cars are exactly the same."


The infomercial focuses on the car's Northstar System. The system includes a 300 horsepower, V8 engine and Stabilitrack, which detects the rate and degree of the turn and corrects for oversteering or understeering. The system also increases power to the steering wheel in city driving and reduces it on highways. Another element is the electronic, integrated sensing system, which reads the contours of the road and selects the appropriate pressure in the shock and suspension.


"We chose the infomercial format because there was no way to explain all of the car's features in a spot ad," Albano said. "Even with the 30-minute segment, it was still hard to talk about all of the features."


The infomercial was produced by Draft Worldwide Inc., Chicago, which has been working with Cadillac since 1997 on its direct marketing and direct response print campaigns. Though this is Cadillac's first DRTV campaign, Draft Worldwide has done infomercials and DRTV spots for other clients.


"Though we did not use actual brand ads for any of the footage, we tried to stay true to the image of the commercials," said Kristi VandenBosch, senior vice president and group account director for Draft. "We set out to inform the non-traditional Cadillac owner of the engine design, stereo system and safety features."


Because Cadillac wanted to market the Seville to a young demographic, Mark Goodman, a former MTV video jockey, was selected by Draft to host the show.


The filming of the infomercial took two months. Three weeks were spent shooting in Houston, where people drove the Seville STS along with models from Mercedes, BMW and Lexus, and offered their testimonials. Other footage was included engineers and other company officials at the Seville manufacturing plant in Michigan talking about the car.


"We sort of live and breathe this stuff now," said VandenBosch. "The consumers were the most interesting to watch because of their reactions to the three cars and their surprise with how well the Cadillac performed."


Concentrix Teleservices, New York, was contracted for the infomercial, while Draft is doing the media buy. Cadillac will track response to the infomercial not only through phone calls but also traffic on the Seville Web Site. The company is not ruling out the possibility of other brands.


"Although nothing is concrete, other Cadillac brands have looked at the possibility of doing an infomercial," VandenBosch said.
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