In 2014 Cadillac released its “Poolside” Ad, featuring actor Neal McDonough’s unapologetic and fast talking tribute to the good life.
Taking great pains to make fun of such goofy things as Europe, bad luck and actually taking your vacation time, Cadillac boldly insists the time is now for the well-off to come out and proudly proclaim what they haven’t really been hiding: “Yo! I’ve got money!”
The first line of that ad asks “Why do we work so hard? For Stuff?” and and finally answers its own question with “Yeah, stuff is good!”
The commercial is slick, smirking, and the patter is so fast-paced and clever it actually has a Gilmore Girls vibe to it. It boldly smacks its chest and dares you to to decline the American dream.
In answer Ford had one response…don’t be a dick.
Opposed to Cadillac’s use of an actor, the commercial for Ford’s CMAX hybrid features “Real Woman” Pashon Murray, founder of Detroit nonprofit Detroit Dirt, an organization that creates urban gardens in order to help keep food local.
While brilliantly matching the Cadillac ad scene for scene, arched eyebrow for side glance, what really is impressive is the stand alone nature of the spot. You need not have seen the Cadillac ad for Ford’s to make sense, but it sure does make an even stronger impression if you have.
While McDonough’s delivery is of mocking and hubris, Pashon’s is more impassioned and hopeful. Furthermore, the only other humans in the Cadillac ad are the presumed family of the speaker who are lounging around a well appointed and so-clean-it’s-sanitized house. The folks in Ford’s spot are at at work in kitchens and gardens literally getting their hands dirty.
Obviously the target markets for these cars are wildly different, which is probably why Cadillac didn’t shout “unfair!” too much. I have to give much credit to Ford’s ad agency (Rogue) for a fast and thoughtful response to a fellow car maker and neighboring company.
Yes, treat yourself and enjoy life, but remember your community…n’est pas?
For more info on this ad battle, see this article from Ad Age