Cadillac Ad Spotlights American Materialism

Cadillac ELR ad, poolside

After what I saw yesterday, I kind of wish I was from France.

In France, and many other countries, people don’t live to work, they work to live. It’s not uncommon to take exceptionally long lunch breaks, work 4 days a week and even take the entire month of August off. New mothers often take far more time off in other countries than they do here in the States.

Why is that?

People in other countries value family time and personal growth over materialistic success.

Here in the U.S., that hasn’t traditionally been the case. We’ve been quite the opposite, working our tails off to accumulate stuff and all the debt that goes with it. We’re making slow progress in the other direction, much to the chagrin of marketers everywhere.

None, perhaps, more than Cadillac.

In a completely sad and shameful new TV ad, Cadillac glorifies the American materialistic mentality to the point of showing a financially successful middle-aged man ignore his wife and diss his kids. All to have a new ELR.

I’m sure Cadillac was trying to invoke a feeling of pride in America—the type of spot Chrysler likes to debut during Super Bowls. Instead of an inspiring and nostalgic feel of warm Americana, the Caddy commercial spews bigoted arrogance like I’ve never seen. It accuses people in other countries of being lazy and spending too much time away from the workplace. It advocates for the accumulation of “stuff” like swimming pools, nice suits, fancy houses and, ultimately, $70,000 Cadillacs.

“As for all the stuff,” says the actor, “that’s the upside of taking only two weeks off in August.”

That makes me sad.

Personally, I’d rather take more vacation time and spend more time with my family than work myself into the ground to pay for a car that I don’t need. I hope that’s the feeling other Americans get after viewing the ad. I hope people see it and shake their heads in disbelief. I hope people see it and realize that commercial is the most succinct summation ever created of what’s wrong with this country.

I’ll give that to Cadillac. In just 60 seconds, it has turned off anyone who loves vacations from ever buying one of its cars.

Check out the ad. Does it make you want to buy a Cadillac?


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