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Cadillac Challenges Students ForMarketing Strategy

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DETROIT - Looking to leverage a successful product renaissance and regain the once coveted "standard of the world" status, Cadillac is now aiming to gain crucial ground within the youth market, specifically those 97 million Americans under age 25 that represent 35 percent of the population.

To capture the attention of this influential market Cadillac invited universities across the country to develop an integrated marketing plan that would make the brand relevant to younger generations. Winners from Portland State University and San Diego State University received top honors and a cash prize.

The Cadillac National Case Study Competition (CNCSC) enlisted the skills of 23 classes (16 undergraduate and 7 MBA) encompassing some 350 students nationwide. Participating teams were asked to learn about the "rebirth of Cadillac" and design a marketing plan that would effectively communicate the brand's renaissance to the generations known as "millennials" (ages 25 and under)and Gen X (ages 26-37). Cadillac was looking to generate excitement and interest in the brand while influencing awareness and consideration among this youthful demographic.

"Although most millennials and Generation X'ers cannot afford a Cadillac now, some day they will. More importantly, kids have a major influence on their parents' purchase decision. We thought it would be worthy to get their input," said Mark LaNeve, Cadillac general manager.

The CNCSC received close to 100 submissions over the competition's three-month span and narrowed the field to four student teams (two undergraduate and two MBA); Portland State University (undergraduate), Bryant College (undergraduate), Tulane University (MBA), and San Diego State University (MBA). These teams were flown to Detroit and pitched their campaigns to top executives from Cadillac and chemistri, Cadillac's advertising agency.

Portland State University and San Diego State University took the top honors and were each awarded $3000 and one student will be given the chance to spend a summer-long internship at chemistri.

"All the team presentations were impressive. It was an extremely hard decision to pick the winners," said LaNeve.

Cadillac is considering participating in the competition again next year.
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