Former McDonald’s CMO Deborah Wahl Will Lead Cadillac’s Marketing Efforts

Wahl Returns to the Auto Business

It was announced today that ex-McDonald’s CMO Deborah Wahl will be venturing back into the automotive marketing world as global CMO of Cadillac after leaving the fast food company in early 2017. After four years of declining market shares, Wahl is poised to inject some life back into the famous automotive company and reignite their marketing efforts.

She is set to replace Uwe Ellinghaus, a former BMW executive who left Cadillac last December. Wahl will be based out of Cadillac’s New York headquarters and will report to Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. Before joining Cadillac, Wahl was the first ever CMO at PulteGroup, one of the country’s largest homebuilders.

Image courtesy of Deborah Wahl’s LinkedIn:

Since market shares began to drop in 2014, Cadillac has been trying desperately to nail a successful comeback. The famed company was once one of the most formidable and sought after luxury car brands in the U.S., but now it trails far behind BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.

Cadillac has seen tremendous growth in China, tripling their sales there in just three short years. The company is hopeful that a change in brand identity and leadership will help boost sales domestically.

Deborah Wahl is no stranger to the automotive industry and has previously held positions at Lexus, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. At Lexus, Wahl was partly responsible for improving the brand’s luxury image before the launch of their $100,000 Hybrid Sedan. Wahl’s new position represents a strong global push towards Cadillac’s global company revitalization.

According to a statement from Cadillac President de Nysschen,

“Cadillac has made incredible progress over the past several years in our long-term journey to regain our position as the pinnacle of premium luxury brands. Deborah’s experience and strategic vision will build on that progress and help propel Cadillac forward during our next phase of global growth.”

Constructing a New Brand Identity

Since market shares began to drop, Cadillac has strived to take their brand back to the top with a variety of new campaigns. Most recently, Cadillac made some marketing moves at the 2018 Oscars with three new TV spots tied to their ‘Never Stop Daring’ campaign. Cadillac worked with creative agency Rokkan to develop the three ads entitled, ‘Future is Here,’ ‘Future Cars’ and, ‘Introducing the XT4.

These ads were more lighthearted than the politically infused ads put out by former CMO Uwe Ellinghaus last year. Last Sunday’s ads put Cadillac cars and services center stage, highlighting the traits that made the company famous in the first place. The ad ‘Future Cars’ tied into the Oscar’s theme perfectly by featuring scenes from ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Back to the Future,’ ‘Knight Rider,’ and ‘The Jetsons’ as Portugal. The Man’s ‘Feel It Still’ thumped in the background. Check out ‘Future Cars’ below.

Cadillac Looks to the Future

Deborah Wahl brings over 20 years of experience to the company and will play a major role in  the way Cadillac is represented on TV and social media going forward. According to her LinkedIn profile,

Wahl’s “winning go-to-market strategies are made possible by the “Agency of the Future” model she developed, which brings a new, collaborative approach based on top talent and technology, with digital, data, and human intelligence at the core. The new agency model delivers exceptional creative and engagement strategies that build great teams who create platforms that drive performance at the speed of now, the cost of yesterday, and the effectiveness of the future.

As the automotive company strives to find their brand identity and recover from slumping U.S. sales, Deborah Wahl will help them speed into the future with marketing strategies that put the cars and the people who drive them in the front seat.