I always love to see American car companies get things right for a change, and anyone watching a lot of Olympics coverage on NBC will have for sure seen the new campaign that Cadillac has done promote the new ATS. The "Cadillac ATS vs. the World" website is well worth a visit. Their crew visited 4 very different and fascinating locations around the globe to film commercials --each chosen to demonstrate a particular characteristic of the ATS. My personal favorite is the Morocco video, which shows the ATS assaulting a snaking canyon road that looks to be one of the coolest driving roads I have ever seen! The totally crazy Chinese tunnel road is something to behold as well. This unpaved road is literally carved out of a mountain, and its stone surface shows off the magnetic suspension of the ATS beautifully. I was very excited for their visit to Monaco, but any serious car nut will be let down a little by that video. Skip the Patagonia video. It's lame.
There are lots of reasons I happen to love this campaign. First, the title is a clever play on the old Cadillac slogan "Standard of the World." Second, it ties in with the global nature of the Olympics subconsciously yet has nothing to do with the Olympics. Watch BMW's awful Olympics campaign to see how painful that can be! Third, director Jeff Zwart is a true blue car enthusiast (he produced the marvelous book Porsche Rennsport that is one of my favorites in my collection) and that comes through a lot in the filming and editing of these pieces. The commercials are truly enthusiast-oriented and engaging to watch. Also, the locations chosen are not the typical famous places like the Nurburgring or the canyon roads of the American West, so frequently used in commercials. Even Monaco, though it is a famous place, is an unlikely location to shoot a commercial for an American sports sedan. So kudos to Zwart for also making do with what I am sure were very challenging location shoots! Last, the driver in these commercials is actually Derek Hill, son of F1 champion Phil Hill! I thought that was kind of a cool touch. The only let-down in this campaign is the sort of sophomoric narration by the non-driving co-host, who makes reference to "hanging with the natives and seeing how they live" in each location. Honestly, who gives a crap? Female Olympics viewers maybe...but we can't have everything, can we? Overall, I think this might be one of the best new car commercial campaigns I have seen in a long time. It really shows off what the car can do, and speaks to a casual and enthusiast crowd in equal measure. It also shows me some remarkable places I have never ever seen before. Well done! I still won't buy an ATS, but I think many people just might go and test drive one thanks to these ads.
Note: This review was in no way solicited or paid for by GM, just in case you were wondering.