Cadillac Canada uses tennis star Bianca Andreescu to court EV drivers

Who: Cadillac Canada, with Isobar Canada for creative, Fela for production, and Carat for media.

What: “Electric Icons,” a new campaign promoting the LYR1Q, the automaker’s first all-electric vehicle debuting next year. It features Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu, who was introduced as Cadillac’s newest brand ambassador earlier this year.

When & Where: The campaign launched this week with an atmospheric 90-second spot running across digital and owned social, ahead of a broadcast push next year. Andreescu has a large social following (including nearly 700,000 followers on Instagram alone) making it a logical place to launch the campaign, said Dewhurst.

Why: It’s promoting the luxury automaker’s move into the fast-growing EV space. Aside from being a “uniquely Canadian” campaign (rather than creative adapted from the U.S.), Cadillac is also highlighting that this is a “women led and focused” production—with Andreescu starring, Fela’s Kat Webber directing, and Isobar Canada’s Sharine Taylor as copywriter.

So is this a specific attempt by Cadillac to court women? “Females drive a lot of purchasing behaviour in the marketplace,” said Jamie Dewhurst, national marketing and communications manager for Cadillac Canada. “It’s foolish for any company to focus on one slice of the pie, so the opportunity with Bianca is certainly to be able to resonate with a female buyer [and] a younger demographic.”

How: Webber was named one of Canada’s top music video directors by Complex last year, and brings an artistic sensibility to this spot. Her music video background appealed to the Cadillac brand team, said Dewhurst. “We knew we wanted a spot that complemented Bianca,” she said. “She’s a very style-forward individual, and that’s a huge pillar for the Cadillac brand, both inside and out.”

The 90-second version is meant to be cinematic and eye-catching, said Dewhurst. “It’s a shift away from a car driving down a highway or on a racetrack,” he said. “I think it’s going to catch the attention of a lot of people who may typically not get drawn into your average car commercial.”

The spot combines scenes of Andreescu with beauty shots of the LYR1Q, while the tennis star delivers a narration that could be about her or the car: “You need to be technical and disciplined, but dream like an artist,” she says. “My purpose is to change the game, to inspire the world. Be iconic.”

Does the car move? Somewhat unusually, there’s not a single shot of the LYR1Q in motion, generally a staple of automotive advertising. “The car doesn’t move an inch the entire time,” said Dewhurst.

Production on the LYR1Q at is not slated to begin until the first quarter of next year, and the car in the spot is the only version of the vehicle in the world, so they were reluctant to shoot it on city streets. Instead, the ad was shot in the Cadillac Live studio and at the Aviva Centre on the York University campus.

“When you’re dealing with early pre-production [models] you want to be careful with it and you want to make sure it gets back to the studio [undamaged],” said Dewhurst. “Kat and the team made a really dynamic spot with the challenge that we as a client put on them, that the car had to stay still.”

Cadillac’s place within a fast-growing category: EVs is a “very quickly emerging segment” in the auto world. Cadillac has received more than 1,000 Canadian orders for the LYR1Q on a reservation system introduced in September. “It’s a phenomenal number, and we’re very happy with it,” said Dewhurst.

In addition to the LYR1Q, Cadillac has also teased its Celestiq luxury sedan expected in 2024 and has pledged that it will be a fully electric manufacturer by the end of the decade. “[The internal combustion engine] has powered the automotive landscape for over 100 years, and to be at the forefront of the next frontier of propulsion is really exciting,” said Dewhurst. “It’s a fascinating time to be part of the industry.”

And we quote: “Being part of this women-led and focused campaign to highlight the innovative capacity of the Cadillac LYR1Q, celebrate the athleticism of Bianca Andreescu and putting women’s creativity on the forefront by way of Kat Webber’s lens was a transformative experience. There’s so much to be said about how each are transforming the spaces they occupy and leading the charge in changing the culture. This is emblematic of an ongoing shift in the world of sustainable EVs, sports and film towards equity, and I was so happy to see the possibilities of an iconic future firsthand.” —Sharine Taylor, copywriter, Isobar Canada

Chris Powell