Cadillac clears misconceptions on heavily criticized “Poolside” ad

Article by Eugene Conan, on March 7, 2014

Cadillac’s new TV spot "Poolside" has been receiving criticism, and the luxury brand is out clearing up the misconceptions. The commercial, created by ad agency Rogue, features actor Neal McDonough gazing out over his pool, asking "Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff?" He seems to be questioning the so-called American Dream.

The 60-seond spot featuring the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid made its debut during NBC's broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. It will also be aired both before and during ABC's broadcast of the Academy Awards Sunday night. 

Craig Bierley, Cadillac's advertising director, said the "Poolside" spot is intended to serve as a "brand provocation." While fans on the political right see the spot as an unapologetic ode to American values, its critics on the political left view it as ugly American chest thumping at its worst, says Advertising Age.

Some are also questioning the spot’s seemingly workaholic message, which came at time when Americans are working harder and longer, but for less money. On the other hand, Fox Business News contributor Jonathan Hoenig, praised "Poolside" as a "tremendous" celebration of profit-seeking, productivity and enjoyment of material goods.

"Those are considered very declasse these days, very down. So here's a wonderful ad that actually celebrates America," Hoenig said. Meanwhile, Fox Business host Neil Cavuto expressed concern that "Poolside" adds more fire to the negative perception that the richest 1 percent are smug rich people who are contemptuous of everyone else.

He noted that it would be cheeky for GM to preach self-reliance. The US carmaker was bailed out by American taxpayers. The Huffington Post declared: "Cadillac made a commercial about the American Dream -- and it's a Nightmare."

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