The Cadillac House has shut its doors in Manhattan. And rather than opening up shop in Michigan, nearby its new headquarters, it’s going on a road trip.
“Nothing to announce on a Cadillac House in Michigan… we still believe there’s opportunity to have places and people engaging in our brand. That might not mean a physical place that exists,” said Jason Sledziewski, Director of Product Marketing, Cadillac Global.
Cadillac recently moved its headquarters from New York City to Warren, Michigan, across the street from the GM Global Tech Center. There was even an odd ribbon-cutting ceremony, ironically on April 1, 2019. The brand was only in Manhattan since late 2015. After Johan de Nysschen left his post as head of Cadillac in 2018, the brand’s house of cards came crashing down. Everybody from marketing executives to communications people, were let go.
In a swing of the pendulum, GM-lifer Steve Carlisle now runs the brand, with further oversight happening from GM President Mark Reuss – also a lifer.
Whatever side you’re on – whether you trusted de Nysschen’s long game or you think Cadillac belongs back in the coop – Cadillac House was a promising concept. A sexy and upscale place where people can simply experience the brand, without the ambience or pressure of a dealership. Thankfully, the idea of Cadillac House survived the shakeup.
“It could be something that moves around. We’re sitting in a room right now that could be built out to be a Cadillac House specific concept – one that moves. We want to expose it to more people,” Sledziewski continued.
The room he mentioned was fixated with well-made couches, stylish carpeting and sleek cabinetry, as if it were part of a modern, yet relaxing home.
Similar to what Sledziewski described harkens to what Aston Martin recently did during the 2019 Coachella Music Festival in California, made possible thanks to its partnership with Waldorf-Astoria Hotels. Guests at Wadolf-Astoria’s La Quinta Resort & Club were treated with up-close interactions with the new Aston Martin DB11 Volante, daily music performances in the resort’s central plaza with Aston Martin vehicles on display, and brand specialists treated guests with wearable floral arrangements.
Not that anybody should be a fan of such vapid gestures for professional Instagram models, but the abstract of getting a brand to a place with people, rather than getting people to a brand seems to be a clever strategy. It’s easy to envision Cadillac having an elaborate setup at, say, The Masters. Or perhaps another major music festival like Miami’s Ultra. In China, there will be several Cadillac Houses in various cities.
It is nevertheless disappointing that Cadillac House won’t appear in The Motor City, because they make sense. One can find good examples of other brand experience centers across the pond.
On Champs-Élysées in Paris, France, there are a few. Mercedes-Benz, Renault, and Peugeot all have brick-and-mortar locations along the famous avenue dedicated to simply inviting people in and showing them what each brand is about. Some of them two levels, the displays rival the auto show circuit, with everything to do from sit in current products, to color illustrations (for the kids!), and even buy merchandise. Such as novel salt and pepper shakers at Peugeot, which at one point was a company focused on just that.
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