I just caught an ad that played so hip that I even felt cool watching it. Seriously, it blew me away. The immediate impact of the TV commercial knocked me over and infused me with its attitude, going straight inside my brain and linking tight two words: Cadillac and cool.

Four hip and sharp thirty-something dudes pull up to a diner in a brand new Cadillac DTS four-door sedan. As they exit the car talking, they stop and notice right next to them, four 50-something, tough and manly looking men frozen in place staring right back at them from another Cadillac. I swear, it looked like a mob hit was about to take place. No smiles, no ease of manner, just man versus man. The commercial is shot in color but looks black and white.

Camera pans to Mr. 50-something tough and hip who says “I see you’re driving a Cadillac.” Sharp cut to Mr. 30-something cool and hip who says “And I see you’re doing the very same.” Fast cut to another Mr. 50-something tough and hip who says “Welcome to the world of gentlemen, gentlemen.” Cut back to and hold on another Mr. 30-something cool and hip who says “It’s good to be here”

The camera pans and…they all just walk away. Bam! Totally wild west. This ad just seemed so tough, so bad. Really, it just made it super-cool to drive and own a Cadillac again.

The car had cache once but I’ve got to say my image of Caddy kind of got stuck back in 1986 or so. The land yacht we all knew and loved that always seemed to be driving uphill was dedicated to seniors even way back then. Maybe one for dad, but not for me.

Well guess what? I’d say Cadillac is seriously determined to let us know they are not dead yet. This ad is huge. It’s so monochrome. So deadpan. Really, it’s like the guys could whip out guns and blow each other away. The undertone of macho confidence playing out on screen makes you think Quentin Tarantino directed the spot. I went online and watched the ad over and over and over. It’s addictive, especially when you’re sitting on the sofa in your underwear trying to remember when Saturday evening at 11:00pm was the beginning, and not the end of your night. The comparison is somewhat sobering.

They have a companion ad of sorts showing the same groups of guys meeting up on a golf course. It has a similar edge but just doesn’t click in the same way. The “Diner” ad is much more effective at passing the torch of manhood from the very guys that younger men actually respect – and it is in this transition where the spot really smokes.

When a guy gets to his mid-thirties and finally figures out that being a man involves more than chicks, beer and sports he begins to realize he might not have what it takes. This can make a guy nervous. He knows that it’s about the heft, that weight of personality that a real man possesses, that commands and enforces respect. Men are born of experience and conflict, not how-to books or focus groups. And “Real Men” have got storehouses of hard-won road knowledge. When you have all that, and then understand when to shut up about it, well, that’s when a man becomes a gentleman.

For the ladies reading this, trust me. Watch that ad and you may learn a little something extra about us guys. We may be men, but we often feel like boys, and the desire to be welcomed into the club of manhood is very acute. Can a Cadillac get you there? No, of course not, but Cadillac has punched that sentiment right between the eyes.

Beware thirty-something men. Cadillac wants you.    

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