Cadillac Turns Red-Haute

If you’re watching the Rose Bowl telecast on New Year’s Day, don’t be alarmed if during the commercials you find yourself slipping into a sonically generated, hypnotized stupor.  Though the sensation might be traced to the compounded effects of a low scoring game, flowing champagne, or too much holiday cheer, it may just be the soothingly authoritative tone of a familiar voice from the Matrix.

Cadillac will kick off its 2011 advertising year with a new series of tv spots featuring a dulcet voiceover from Emmy and Tony award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne.  Best known for his film work of the last 30 years, Fishburne’s milestone roles have ranged from the teenaged swift boat gunner of Apocalypse Now to the computerized kung fu master Morpheus, the protector of humanity in 1998’s hugely successful The Matrix.  The ads, which will initially air during this year’s collegiate classic in Pasadena, are the opening salvo of a new Cadillac marketing campaign dubbed “Red-Blooded Luxury.”

If the name of the campaign is any indication, it would seem that Cadillac hopes to undertake a bit of an image makeover, stressing that its product line extends to encompass sporty attributes as well as traditionally luxurious ones.  Case in point is the manufacturer’s announcement last week that it would re-enter the world of competitive racing with a specially prepared CTS-V coupe (pictured above and below).  Returning next season to the Sports Car Club of America’s World Challenge after a 2-year layoff, Cadillac hopes to reprise the Manufacturer’s Championship it earned in 2005 and 2007.  There’s no denying that the new CTS-V coupe racecar, which was prepared in conjunction with motorsports engineering firm Pratt & Miller, plays the visual part.  With obvious physical modifications such as a lowered ride height, side exhaust pipes, a large rear spoiler wing, and a bulging louvered hood, the dynamic car seems to have undergone the bevy of structural modifications necessary to best capitalize on its supercharged 6.2 liter V-8 engine, a motor capable of developing a whopping 556 horsepower.

Regardless of the outcome of the impending race campaign, there’s little doubt that landing Fishburne, whose public perception deftly weaves threads of hip hop street cred and savvy erudition, will only help bolster Cadillac’s renewed tagline as the New Standard of the World.