Cannes Lions

The Outline & Cadillac Launch Partnership


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Cadillac sought to send a culturally relevant, resonant message to our young, hip, savvy audience. The Outline and Cadillac created a campaign focused on Cadillac's position in pop culture, highlighting the legacy brand’s presence in music, film, and entertainment (e.g. highlighting celebrities like rapper Snoop Dogg who drive Cadillac and the iconic, cool films and songs that feature the brand.) The goal was to redefine the iconic brand as “downtown,” fresh, tech-savvy, and sophisticated to The Outline’s young, upscale readership (the same people most resistant to traditional digital advertising.) Aesthetically, the collection of ten artful, neutral toned Native Content Cards added a dimension of sleek sophistication to the site's look & feel amist the bright color combinations used elsewhere across the site. The techincolor, 8-bit driving game Night Driver literally put young early adopters and technophiles in the driver's seat of a Cadillac, positioning Cadillac as a foward-thinking brand.


Everything about The Outline is built from scratch (including the CMS and ad server.) Instead of relying on convention, The Outline built an ambitious, innovative product where native advertising is completely turnkey and seamless to the content consumption path. This allows for beautiful, intentional, and less labor intensive campaign execution, compared to long-form sponsored content. The Outline's user experience and content card navigation is shaped by the User Path: users shuffle through cards via horizontal swipes on mobile, and vertical endless scroll on desktop. Native ad content cards are interspersed between editorial cards and share the same formats, preserving a “no foreign objects” experience. Within this platform framework, all that was needed for a truly authentic, turnkey campaign execution was a collaborative creative brainstorm, a few rounds of mocks, and a shared desire to create something daring, groundbreaking and authentically true to each brand's voice.


According to a Nielsen survey, Cadillac's campaign on The Outline drove a 9x greater increase in purchase intent with users age 25-34 compared to banner ads on traditional sites. Millennials who saw ads on The Outline versus competitors were 122% percent more likely to believe that Cadillac's brand is headed in a positive direction. The campaign generated unprecedented performance on a publisher platform: Engagement across native and product cards averaged 18%; over 12% of people who encountered Night Driver played it; the average time spent playing for users who beat the game was 2.5 minutes. The outpouring of comments from young people-- those most immune to traditional advertising-- has been overwhelming, including tweets like “I’ve never wanted to see more ads.” This campaign was more than just advertising, or a Snapchat lens, or some viral spon con– it's a digital advertising revolution, and it's only just begun.

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