Cadillac hits the streets

The luxury brand lets Canadians steer an XT5 through Instagram as part of its focus on experiential and social.

Cadillac Canada recently gave socially-savvy Montrealers a new way to get behind the wheel of one its newest vehicles.

People in the city could visit Cadillac Canada’s Instagram page, where they found photos of four different arrows. By liking an arrow, users could “steer” a Cadillac XT5 that was driving on the city’s streets. A co-pilot monitoring the account would inform the driver which direction was getting the most votes and tell him which direction to go in, and people could follow the XT5′s journey through Instagram Stories posted to the account.

There was also a contest element to the stunt: some people who participated on Instagram were selected to win a range of prizes, as were people helped steer the XT5 to one of the stops it would make. The biggest prize was a lease for a new XT5.

Red Lion Canada, which was named agency of record for Cadillac Canada in the summer, led creative and executed the idea, with Carat on media buying and Bookmark on public relations.

Mark Khoury, national marketing manager at Cadillac Canada, says the campaign is in line with a global mantra at Cadillac – “Dare Greatly” – that is part of its brand positioning for customers but also a guiding principle for its marketing.

“This was our attempt to be the first to market with this kind of experience,” he says. “Typical car shopping is to go to the dealership, get a test drive and that’s how you experience the car. Both our current customer and the customers who might aspire to get inside a Cadillac are very active on social. We’re trying to give them an experience that reflects both the brand’s philosophy and the product itself. And we’re also trying to maximize the potential of each platform we use by using it the way it’s intended, and not just having generic, vanilla executions across everything.”

Cadillac Canada has been more active in the social and experiential spaces recently, part of its effort to reach “the next generation of luxury car buyers.”

“That’s not a new target, but it’s one that’s is constantly evolving,” Khoury says. “We’re looking to find new ways to interact with them. We know they are modern thinkers that like to challenge the status quo, so we’re looking to engage them with executions that tap into those kinds of attributes.”

While the Instagram stunt was part of the launch campaign for the XT5, Cadillac also ran a more traditional launch event for the vehicle in Toronto, albeit with a twist. It was held at Toronto’s Design Exchange, and the brand invited numerous visual artists, designers and chefs to experience the vehicle, and the use that inspiration to create a piece of work that showed their own interpretation of luxury. At the launch event, Cadillac not only invited automotive media to see the car and learn about its features, but lifestyle media as well.

“We’re moving in that direction, partnering more with lifestyle media to showcase that a luxury car is not just a way of getting from A to B,” Khoury says. “There are a multitude of cars you can buy if you’re just getting from A to B. The reason you buy a luxury product like a Cadillac is because you want it to reflect your lifestyle.”