Air Greatly: New Cadillac XT5 Soars Over Manhattan in Launch Stunt


Cadillac XT5

Cadillac wanted to take Manhattan by storm as the GM luxury brand moved its headquarters to SoHo from Detroit this summer. So the brand came up with a big stunt: suspending it new XT5 SUV 150 feet over the West Side Highway as media and other “influencers” watched the climax of an event meant to mark Cadillac’s new approach to selling premium automobiles.

The XT5 won’t be fully unveiled until the Dubai International Motor Show in November, as Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus told brandchannel this week. But in a teaser exercise in conjunction with a kickoff fashion show by the menswear brand Public School under its growing relationship with Cadillac, the auto brand staged a surprise brief appearance by XT5 on an “unexpected runway” as show attendees looked on from the 14th floor of the nearby Starrett-Lehigh Building.

Pulling off the audacious move to launch New York Fashion Week required a number of logistics. It was the first time in 15 years that cargo flew over Manhattan, Cadillac told Ad Age, and the procedure required the cooperation of the city and the US Coast Guard.

Illuminated in the dark while in flight, the 4,600-pound vehicle required 30 feet of rigging, a 3,000-pound customized platform, and 44 cameras to record it all. It stopped traffic on the highway for several minutes, and Cadillac apologized in advance to New Yorkers for “the inconvenience of this evening’s traffic interruption.”

The Cadillac partnership with Public School will extend to Dubai, where the automaker will unveil the XT5 in the arts district rather than the motor-show grounds and where Public School will unveil its pre-fall collection.

“It’ll be just another step in a long line of activities going forward,” Ellinghaus told brandchannel, “that we will need to do to overcome the major hurdle that the brand still has.”