• Aug 4, 2009
Click above to watch Kate Walsh talk up the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon after the jump

So we knew that Bob Lutz didn't like the course General Motors commercials were taking – but no one knew what he did like. Now that he's back from vacation in the Caribbean, he's laid out what he has enjoyed: popular YouTube vids like the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 lapping the 'Ring, the Kate Walsh Cadillac ads, and a Howie Long Total Confidence commercial.

Sure, Lutz's plan for ads sounds a lot like the Standard Operating Practices of old GM. However, Cadillac did good business with the Kate Walsh ads, the ZR1's 'Ring showing meant you could put "Corvette" and "supercar performance" in the same sentence. And while we sometimes find the Long ads a tad facile, they state their cases plainly. If Lutz can do what those three commercials did – but do so for each of the portfolio's entire brands intentionally and over time, he'll have done something monumental.

To do that, Lutz says he is revamping and taking control of just about everything: bringing designers in on the ad planning and going to product-driven advertising, changing how GM works with its agencies and giving agencies clearer directives, holding weekly meetings with brand executives, and even making sure all the ad photography is flattering to the car. Will these changes be enough? Check out the one of Lutz's favorite new ads after the jump, then leave your fellow reader a line in 'Comments' with your best guess as to GM's chance for advertising success.

[Sources: Automotive News, sub req'd; General Motors]



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  • 51 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz? Oh yea he is the guy that was going to retire. You see he looked at Rick Wagner's retirement package and thought. "I am nuts to be retiring, shucks I can peddle the same crap as always and in 5 years retire with ten times what Wagner received, sure am glad the president didn't fire me".
      • 5 Years Ago
      The difference between a Cadillac ad and (say) a BMW ad, Cadillac pointed nothing out about the car, only gave a sexual innuendo. I'd never by a Cadillac or Lincoln, they will always be a dressier version of their siblings to me. For me to change my mind, get rid of the Cadillac and Lincoln livery cabs in NYC and build cars focused on being on the same tier as BMW/Benz rather than..."how can I take this Taurus and make it a luxury car"
      Joe C.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't care what GM does to make themselves look better than they are, here in Omaha the majority of Cadillac owners are the gangsters that live in North Omaha, and those have all been purchased with drug money. I'd take a MB C63 AMG over even the best of whatever Cadillac has to offer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      pretty face always sells lol, I'll tell ya this much...has anyone noticed those Mercury commercials featuring Jill Wagner? every time I find myself making a reference to her,call her "The Mercury Girl" always comes up...buzz created successful commercial lol....
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mike Rowe > Howie Long
      Jill Wagner > Kate Walsh
      Alan Mulally > the sum total of the entire management of GM

      Good luck with that Bob.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That will be the day when I watch a nother commercial for a gas powered car voluntarily on the Internet. No thanks I will wait until they make me watch it on TV and are paying millions of dollars to do so. If it was a EV OK. More gas brainwashing, no thanks. Lemmings!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I grew up in an era when the Cadillac brand went into cardiac arrest.

      The brand became so damaged that the only way our generation would have found themselves behind the wheel of a Cadillac is if someone pointed a gun at our head. Cadillac became the brunt of unrelenting jokes and the stereotypical owner became a short pudgy balding man, with an ill fitting hair piece, white leisure suit, and his body festooned with imitation gold jewelry.

      I will never purchase a Cadillac no matter how good they may become. In my mind, that brand died over 50 years ago.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I lived through the same time... and I'd sell my soul for a CTC-V.

        Things change.
      • 5 Years Ago
      LS, that's why they should be a priority. The only way to truly
      change perception is to let the ideas seep in over 10 or more years.
      BMW especially has had a consistent marketing language for decades.

      What needs to happen is for the marketing heads to just simmer down.
      They don't need to knock the ball out of the park on their first go.
      They just need to be consistent and not overbearing for a LONG time.
      They need to focus less on the image of brand, and instead on the
      atmosphere that is communicated with the brand. In other words,
      instead of focusing on the cadillac, focus on where someone who owns
      a cadillac goes, does, and says. If you pick the right kind of
      atmosphere, the kind of people who wish they could experience that
      will buy the car.

      Just take a look at Audi's latest push (check out www.audi.tv ). It
      shows exactly what I am talking about. Audi.tv is exclusively suave people
      touring europe. So much of the focus on the cars is completely indirect.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lutz needs to loosen his grip a bit. The man is old and out of touch with buyers. A "car guy" or not, he needs to let his product be seen by a younger (25-35) audience as relevant. Think about the the 3 spots he likes, the ring: only appeals to people who love performance cars most people in this country (outside of auto blog readers) have no idea what the ring is; the Grey's woman in a Cadillac: appeals to I guess women over 30 who like TV (probably can afford the car); and the Howe Long spots which are cute but SCREAM middle of America soccer mom. GM in order to survive needs to target the coasts. I travel often for my job and people in the middle of the country see so many GM products on the road they can't understand why GM went belly-up. These are not the people that GM needs to advertise to. When out on the coasts I see way more imports than domestics and people believe that GM makes good trucks and poor cars. They are seen as dull and poorly made. GM needs to change this perception with their advertising.
        • 5 Years Ago
        People on the coasts won't buy a Cadillac, even with clever ads. They've convinced themselves they are only a success if they own a BMW, Mercedes or Porsche. When someone has their self-worth wrapped up in owning a German car, you're not going to win them over with a domestic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM needs to change this perception with their products...consistently.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Howie Long adverts were awful - smug and arrogant from a company with weak products and indifferent styling. The CTS commercials were a bore. You really don't learn anything about the car except it is driven by boobs.

      I applaud the appointment of Maximum Yutz to direct Government Motors advertising. He's done enough damage to sink GM in six years and with his skill, Government Motors will be killed in a year. Party on, Yutz!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Brian apparently has more than one username.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, it goes without saying that you no nothing of what you say. But I will anyway. Bob Lutz singlehandedly changed the quality culture at GM. Every launch since 2004 has been very succesfull. As the rest of the GM gets the new products--Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain, Cadillac SRX, Cadillac CTS Sports Wagon, Buick LaCrosse, and Chevy Cruze, the GM line will be majority reformed, with industry leading models that get best in class mileage and are equal or superior to the imports in fit and finish. Every new model introduced has increased its market share within its segment. This wouldnt have happened with Bob Lutz. I worry for GM when Lutz DOES leave, and hope he has instilled his quality ethic where it needs to be in the future.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This Cadillac ad is a blatant design and stylistic rip off of the superb Jaguar "Gorgeous" work...

      So I guess the new way forward is to copy other people's best stuff?

      Sounds like their old product strategy is their new advertising strategy
      • 5 Years Ago
      One of the beliefs I have about being successful in selling cars is that " You can sell an older person a young person's car, but you can not sell a young person an older person's car". What I mean by that - The older person is more willing to purchase a vehicle that will make them feel younger. If the vehicle is functional, sporty looking, good performance, then all those points are positives to making the sale to multiple age markets.

      I see this commercial as crossing multiple boundaries. The younger people will consider the Cadillac, the partner of the female gender will picture themselves in the driver's seat and can influence the buy decision and the person wishing they could buy the CTS-V can see themselves behind the wheel of this vehicle.

      IMHO - it is a good commercial, short tells a good story. It is much better than many of the auto commercials I have seen lately.

      Now if GM can wrap vehicle quality to support the buy decision,then they have a winner and they will take a giant step forward to being successful again in the market place.

      BTW: I do not own a Cadillac.

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