Dare Greatly

I caught this commercial from Cadillac a few weeks back and it left me completely speechless! Not many commercials have left such an impression. See for yourself:


This commercial is part of the ‘Dare Greatly’ campaign by Publicis for the 112 year old iconic brand Cadillac.  The campaign is part of the effort to revitalize the brand and reposition it as an alternative to its German competitors.

The campaign is bold and enlists the stories of today’s innovators, game changers and movers and shakers.  The stories of Steve Wozniak, Jason Wu, Richard Linklater, Njeri Rionge, and Anne Wojciciki are stories that we know and through them, we are able to understand what Cadillac is trying to accomplish.

On the campaign page, Cadillac’s president, Johan de Nysschen
 tells us:

“To once again become the standard for excellence around the globe, we cannot follow any of the examples set by the luxury market “establishment”, nor meekly succumb to preconceived notions about this great brand, or even, perceptions about our rivals. We respect each and every one of our competitors, but Cadillac will chart its own course, and we will speak our own truth.

Cadillac is on a mission to shatter the status quo. Cadillac will lead with highly aspirational products packed with advanced technology, superlative craftsmanship and distinctive design. And a brand character that symbolizes quality and respect. We don’t aim to be the biggest. We aim to be the best, the highly aspirational domain of the few.”

Dare Greatly comes from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 ‘Citizenship in a Republic’ speech – “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Dare Greatly Cadillac

Cadillac pulls inspirations from figures past and present for their big revival and produces something great and daring!  While these stories resonate so powerfully, I wondered about how they were selected.  Richard Linklater, Anne Wojcicik and Steve Wozniak as we know are all American. However, Jason Wu and Njeri Rionge are Taiwanese-Canadian and Kenya respectively. I wondered if featuring all American stories would not have helped the brand showcase their all-American heritage even more!  Check out the rest of the videos and the letter from the president here.

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