Thursday, February 01, 2007

Caddy, the video starring you

Friday, January 26, 2007
Caddy, the video starring you
YouTube channel is virtual world marketing
Eric Morath / The Detroit News

What do suave celebrities, country-club members and tattoo-encrusted rockers have in common? According to YouTube, they all drive Cadillacs.

Perhaps better known for marketing in magazines such as Fortune and Forbes, Cadillac pushed its efforts further into the virtual world with this month's launch of a YouTube channel called My Cadillac Story.

There, viewers can watch the well-tattooed ex-blink-182 drummer Travis Barker show off his classic Eldorado, listen to hip-hop star Fat Joe expound on his Escalade, and hear '80s rocker Joan Jett tell stories about selling records out of the back of a Deville.

Not your normal two sets of golf clubs kind of Cadillac owners, but then again the YouTube campaign is supposed to be far from typical.

Joining the ranks of Pontiac and Toyota's Scion brand, both of which have homes in the virtual world of Second Life, and the Chrysler Group, who releases YouTube videos on everything from the Auto Show's Jeep fountain to parodies of Folgers Coffee commercials, Cadillac is attempting to reach new customers who pay less attention than ever to traditional television and print ads.

Cadillac's YouTube channel also invites everyday enthusiasts to post their own videos. Novi resident Jerry Franchi shows off his 1961 convertible in one homemade spot.

"We know people of diverse backgrounds all have an affinity for the Cadillac brand," Cadillac communications manager Kevin Smith said. "We want to find a way to make those very real stories better known."

The YouTube channel is a smart, calculated leap for the normally buttoned-up brand, said David Fry, president and CEO of Fry Inc., an Ann Arbor-based firm that has built Web sites for the likes of Home Depot and Kmart.

He thought it wise to invite Cadillac fans to post their own stories and videos.

"Cadillac is trying to reach a younger market," he said. "Joe Schmo will resonate a lot more with that audience than Joan Jett. Younger people are tremendously fascinated with the thoughts of their cohorts."

You can reach Eric Morath at (313) 222-2504 or

© Copyright 2007 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.


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