Cadillac and the Best Car Ad Ever

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's morning in America again. Ronald Reagan did it and now amazingly Cadillac has done it, too. Cadillac has launched the most patriotic capitalism-loving ad in automotive history.

Milton Friedman used to say there is no such thing as a free lunch. Hard work creates its own luck, but that doesn't work if you don't work. We are now in the midst of a society that celebrates anything but work: Spend several years at a university, studying basket-weaving and oppressed minority grievances -- and you are praised. Same thing with winning the lottery or recording a nasty rap video.

However, start a business or work around the clock, and you are taxed and vilified. If you work hard and live a clean life, you are being forced to subsidize those who eat potato chips on their sofa all day long, when they're not in the tattoo parlor or getting a nose ring drilled into their skin.

It didn't always use to be this way. Before various stages over the last 100 years, America was the country of rugged individualism, where failure and laziness was not subsidized.

There have been moments in recent decades when the silent majority rebelled against the anti-American culture of sloth and idleness. In 1972 and 1984, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan each won 49 states in the greatest landslides of modern times.

The overwhelming positive response to this Cadillac ad is a reflection of the same phenomenon: Inside every member of the silent majority is a proud American waiting to be inspired by American superiority and celebration of capitalism.

It is not just people living in America who felt so good about this Cadillac ad, however. Oppressed people from all over the world, yearning to be free -- and rich -- are also inspired by Cadillac's celebration of American capitalism.

We know this because there are fewer Americans seeking to move abroad than there are foreigners seeking to come to the US. It is not the Americans who want to move to France to pay 75% income tax and take August off -- if they could only get a job at all with the astronomical youth unemployment in central-South Europe. It is the French who stand in line trying to get a foothold into the U.S. economy.

The youth of the world are celebrating American capitalism, wanting to come to America and make as much money as they can. They want to host their own mansion barbecues, serve apple pie, wave the American flag -- and drive a classic symbol of American capitalism and freedom: A big in-your-face Cadillac.

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

In recent years and decades, it has become some sort of requirement that car ads need to include various politically correct references to alternative lifestyles and some sort of postmodern rebellion against traditional American values. This may have been engineered by some advertising executive living on the Upper West Side in New York City or by a graduate student at UC Berkeley, but genuine Americans are tired of it now.

The resounding success of this Cadillac ad is it puts an end to the politically correct nonsense of pandering to the tattoo and nose ring generation. It speaks to the silent majority of hard-working Americans who appreciate what is depicted in this Cadillac ad: A clean-cut, properly dressed, successful American with multiple children in the house.

It is always easier to pander to the sloth and idleness prevalent at the bottom of almost every society. Speaking the hard truth is always harder. This sentiment is best depicted in the classic scene in the movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), in which Alec Baldwin plays the supervisor who tells the salesmen that being nice is not enough: They have to deliver results, which is likely a function of working hard.

Why? Because that's what I thought of when I saw the Cadillac ad: Delivering the message that hard work and success is a virtue, not something that should be taxed and vilified.

Some of you will ask: What does this Cadillac message of the superiority of old-fashioned morals, American capitalism and hard work have to do with the featured car, the ELR? The answer is: Nothing at all! It is what we call a curveball.

You see, while one would have normally have expected to see an Escalade or CTS featured in this kind of Cadillac ad, showing the plug-in ELR got the antennas spiked on those paying attention. As much as those of us in the industry are familiar with the ELR, it is largely an unknown to the general population, including those making over $400,000 per year.

You mean the best-looking Cadillac plugs in? That car? That may be the best-looking car from any brand. And it plugs in? Really?

It's one way to break the ice, that's for sure.

The genius behind this Cadillac ad is that it exposes the difference in mentality between most Americans, and the mentality that took root in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s: envy. In the UK, when people saw a Rolls Royce drive by on the road, people would yell "I want you out of that car!" In contrast, in the U.S. at the same time, when you saw a high-end Cadillac, the father would turn to the son and say: "Some day, we, too, will have a big Cadillac."

One mentality wanted to tax the successful and take away their earnings. The other mentality encouraged everyone to work harder and make more money.

We can only hope that Cadillac builds on this supremely successful ELR television ad with others that also celebrate traditional American rugged individualism, contrasting it against the food-stamp and eternal-university culture of today's youth.

The silent majority is still lurking under the surface of public bullying into political correctness, and with Cadillac publishing the best car ad of all time, we know it's morning in America again.

So watch the best car ad ever -- and raise the American flag in celebration. Well done, Cadillac!

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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