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August 3, 2006

Brand Naming: Caddy Pursues The Happiness of Bling

CadilacCadillac is reworking its image by adding bling to its brand name. As David Kiley notes in his blog, the last four years has seen a revamping of the Cadillac brand name thanks mainly to the basketball stars and hip-hop gods who have embraced the Escalade SUV as their own. But Caddy wants an ever younger buyer - in recent years the mean age of a Cadillac buyer has dropped from 64 to 59 but they need more women and more people who are not so close to retirement.

They have also moved from their successful Led Zeppelin themed in favor of a more all-American “” I find it interesting to note that one of the Cadillac brand doyens notes that its hard to build an emotional connection to the Cadillac sub brands that have gone from legendary names like Coupe Deville, Seville and Fleetwood to alphanumeric names such as DTS, SRX, XLR, CTS. As we have noted in an , however, this is the way of things with the luxury and performance car market, where even staid old Lincoln has gone for . But Lincoln encountered some that we also blogged about recently.

LexusBMW, Mercedes, Honda and Jag have all gone for alphanumeric naming and all of them have a share of the youth market. Lexus, for its part, has taken a different tack than Caddy: they have recently launched the new IS 350 with an eye towards the rich geek sector: the vehicle is loaded with nifty gadgets that attracted the attention of the bloggers over at where by their own admission, cockpit accessories rule and road performance is secondary.

Posted by William Lozito at August 3, 2006 10:22 AM
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1 Comment

Call me a hypocrite, but I don’t dislike Cadillac’s names. BLS, CTS, STS and XLR are enough of a departure from their predecessors that they deserve a break from them; and the razor-edge styling marks out a new era. It is supported, to some degree, by what is happening internally.
   However, Lincoln’s me-too range needs heritage, because there is no real departure, in my view. And Ford is just the same old company. Zephyr was an ideal name for a car that is basically a Mazda 6—Ford has been down this route with the old Japanese-designed Ford Telstar. No heritage, no consumer appreciation.
   Differentiation is the key to any successful branding effort, and if everyone went alphanumeric, then we wind up with alphabet soup. It would be largely meaningless to consumers, who are in search of meaning when they buy products that take quite a bit of dosh to acquire.

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