Cadillac reimagined the process of announcing a new model through a mobile and social-first approach that increased brand awareness and created excitement among fans and followers for the CT5.
Objective and Context:
Every year, automotive brands unveil cars to the public the exact same way: a satin sheet slips off a vehicle, the press snaps photos, and publications share the images with readers. What if Cadillac could reimagine the process of announcing a new model through a mobile and social-first approach that increased brand awareness and created excitement among fans and followers? When Cadillac decided to reveal the CT5, its first new sedan model in four years, on social, it began thinking of how to share a new vehicle that people cannot physically interact with beyond the screen while also conveying the satisfying feeling of driving a CT5. For each of these platforms, benchmarks were set for engagement, sentiment, and conversation volume and tracked by its internal analytics team.
At its core, Cadillac designed its campaign for its biggest fans. It wanted to target the consumers who love Cadillac and follow the brand closely. Across all channels its audience is between the ages of 18 and 34 and is made up of primarily male car enthusiasts who want to be the first to know about exciting luxury car innovations. However, Cadillac's target audience also expanded beyond its usual followers and tapped into a niche audience on social media who was less likely to be aware of the Cadillac brand.
Cadillac added a sensory element to the 2D world of social through the cultural phenomenon of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). ASMR is an auditory and visual experience that creates a tingling sensation on the skin through things like whispering, tapping, cutting, scratching, and peeling. As of January 2019, more than 13 million ASMR videos existed on YouTube and 6.3 million Instagram users followed #ASMR. In a series of vignettes, Cadillac unwrapped a special-edition camouflage cover, designed by artist Darel Carey, off the CT5 to reveal various features of the car. The oddly satisfying videos leveraged ASMR to make people "feel" the CT5. Once interest in the car reached its peak, it revealed the whole CT5 at the New York Auto Show with a full unwrapping video. Throughout the tease and launch, videos lived across its organic Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter channels for earned media. During rollout, frequency and content was adjusted daily for campaign optimization, and to ensure each video reached its audiences and allowed time for each video to perform well before introducing the next piece of creative.
Overall Campaign Execution:
In a series of short vignettes, Cadillac used ASMR to help convey the satisfying feeling of driving a CT5 and enjoying the new state-of-the-art Bose sound system that was created for the vehicle. It used its social channels to reach new audience members and create thumb-stopping content. Its videos reached more than five million organic impressions, with zero paid support and a campaign budget of approximately $185,000.
By leveraging social media and ASMR, Cadillac offered its audience the ability to experience the CT5 on a visceral level. Before unveiling the full vehicle at the New York Auto Show, short ASMR teasers were posted on its social channels, showcasing a slow unravel of camouflage to uncover different features of the vehicle. It reached millions of viewers and piqued the interests of those who were not necessarily Cadillac loyalists while also attracting younger consumers to the brand. Cadillac's execution resulted in the most successful organic social campaign in the history of the company.
Cadillac's social reveal campaign turned into an instant and smashing success with 5,507,600 organic impressions. With no paid support, its creative reached the top sections of the ASMR hashtag on Instagram 18 hours after launch and became a trending topic in the OddlySatisfying and Cadillac SubReddits. On Twitter, the reveal video became Cadillac's top favorited video since 2017. Overall, the CT5 reveal was Cadillac's most successful organic social media campaign to date.