GM’s Ambush Marketing Uses Prada to Build Cadillac Brand in China


Does Prada know Cadillac is marketing itself on the fashion brand’s coattails?

Our apologies, but we need to revisit the terrible new Cadillac China commercial because subsequent watchings have revealed that GM has really hired two spokes-“people” for its brand. One is an (apparently mute) Hollywood A-lister; the other is an Italian luxury goods brand.[more]

As we’ve noted, the ad and the campaign are doomed, but a few closer watches of the ad reveal a new interesting wrinkle. No, it’s not that Cadillac appears to think that selling its car like a giant iPhone is a good strategy, (in a nation where many who can afford a Cadillac also have a driver) nor is it that Pitt appears to be driving in both San Francisco and Los Angeles simultaneously. (Cadillac Navigation: “Take the Golden Gate Bridge to the Chris Burden “Urban Light” installment at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.”)

The eyebrow-raising detail is that, in a passing scene, Pitt’s Caddy is reflected in the windows of a luxury goods store.

Pull back, and that store is Prada.

Even better, the XTS even accelerates out of frame while the camera lingers on the Prada sign (0:20 mark):

The Prada store on Conton Road in Hong Kong regularly has a line stretching down the sidewalk from its front door. The large number of Mainland China consumers flocking to the shop have forced it to institute a one-out, one-in policy. When Chinese tourists travel to France—the most popular European destination for Mainland travelers—they’re more likely to hit the Prada store than visit the Louvre. Despite a luxury growth slowdown in Asia in 2012 that hit brands like Burberry, Prada’s sales grew 33 percent in the region. During the recent Acaemy Awards ceremony and red carpet event, Prada was one of two luxury brands Chinese social media users buzzed about the most.

So herein we have Cadillac hoping to subconsciously piggyback its weak brand on Prada’s juggernaut. GM is essentially saying, “We know you high-end Chinese consumers have no idea who we are. But you love Prada! See, we’re literally the car reflection of the Prada brand!”