General Motors captured the gold with its advertising of the 2013 Cadillac ATS, its BMW 3 Series-fighter. The "Cadillac ATS vs. the World" campaign, designed to establish the brand-new Cadillac nameplate, launched during the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games on Friday and continued through the weekend.
Shopping on Edmunds.com for the Cadillac ATS soared 351 percent after the first 60-second commercial aired during Friday's opening ceremony. Cadillac followed up with 30-second spots throughout the weekend, leading to a lift in shopping consideration on Edmunds.com of 474 percent by the time Monday arrived. Shopping consideration is an indicator of marketing effectiveness, not necessarily actual sales. The report card on Cadillac's Olympics advertising comes a day after GM announced the departure of its chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick, who had been criticized for other GM marketing efforts, including the Chevy Runs Deep campaign, that failed to boost the automaker's slumping U.S. market share.
Innovative and adventurous, the ATS ads are actually a series of mini-films featuring the new entry-luxury sport sedan in various places in the world to show off the car's agility and driving capabilities. Locations include the deserts of Morocco, the streets of Monaco, the hand-chiseled Guoliang Tunnels of China and windswept Patagonia, Chile. The campaign was directed by Academy Award-nominated documentary film maker Joe Berlinger, and Jeff Zwart, an acclaimed automotive expert and film maker. The driver in the spots is Derek Hill, a champion race driver and son of Phil Hill, the only American to win the World Driving Championship. American actor and filmmaker Ross Thomas hosts the series. The ATS arrives in Cadillac showrooms later this year, with a starting price of $33,900.
"It was not lost on us that we were launching the Cadillac ATS, developed to take on the world's best sport sedans, on the Olympic world stage," Molly Peck, Cadillac director of advertising, told Edmunds.com of the weekend's results on the campaign. "We designed a global challenge to dramatically demonstrate the car's all-new purpose-built chassis and advanced technology in a global, cinematic adventure. Knowing a significant number of people shopped for the Cadillac ATS as a result of our advertising efforts is always a delight."
GM and BMW are official automotive sponsors of the London Olympics. GM is advertising Cadillac and Chevrolet, which did not get the same lift as its sister division. The Chevrolet Cruze featured in the ads, which also included mention of the Chevrolet Confidence program that offers a return policy and no-haggle pricing, generated only a 3-percent increase in shopping consideration on Edmunds.com during the weekend.
As a first-time sponsor of the games, BMW created a massive and multi-pronged effort in the U.S. and other global markets. During NBC's broadcast, BMW launched its U.S. Olympic-themed advertisement "Victory," a 60-second spot that, as BMW describes it, "illustrates the symmetry between two benchmarks of sport performance: the BMW 3 Series and the athletes of the BMW Performance Team." The result was that the BMW brand experienced a 9-percent rise in shopping consideration on Edmunds.com after Friday's opening ceremonies and a 30-percent increase by the end of the weekend. The 3 Series saw a 12-percent rise in shopping consideration following the opening ceremony and 22-percent hike after the weekend, but from a much higher base than its new Cadillac competitor, the ATS. The 2013 BMW X1, the German automaker's small luxury crossover, saw a huge spike in shopping consideration after the first Olympics weekend - 219 percent after the opening ceremony and 1,063 percent after the weekend - but from a tiny base.
As is often the case, other automakers, with no official affiliation with the Olympics, rode the coattails of the games with a significant advertising presence - and achieved mixed results. Honda heavily advertised its 2013 Acura ILX compact sedan during the opening Olympics weekend and garnered a big spike in shopping consideration on Edmunds.com - 44 percent after the opening ceremony and 57 percent by Monday morning. Nissan didn't fare as well with its advertising of the new Infiniti JX crossover; it saw only an 8-percent rise after the weekend.