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Cadillac addresses 'a nation divided' in Oscars ad

Commentary: As if to warm everyone up for a political Oscars show, the carmaker insists the nation can be united.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


A wise entry into politics?

Cadillac/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The Oscars are on Sunday, and I fancy the deeply mediocre "La La Land" will win far too many.

But talking of La La Land, what about America?

Can it even win again? Will it ever be great again? You just know that at least several of the Oscars speakers will touch on this.

So Cadillac has decided to preempt them. In an Oscars ad released online Thursday, the quintessentially American carmaker addresses societal issues.

"We are a nation divided," begins the voice, as we see old images of unrest. "That's what they tell us, right?"

I half-expected the next line to be: "But you can't trust the fake news media like CNN, can you?"

Instead, the ad claims that instances of people coming together don't make the news. And so we see images of people hugging each other and even carrying each other.

"We carry each other forward," intones the ad, a touch on the nose.

What does this have to do with Cadillac? Well, the ad says: "We've had the privilege to carry a century of humanity. Lovers, fighters, leaders." You know, like Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali.

This is no ordinary carrying that Cadillac has done, at least in its own eyes. "Maybe what we carry isn't just people. It's an idea that while we're not the same, we can be one."

So if we want to be one, we should all buy a fine American Cadillac?

The ad doesn't quite contort itself to that. It contents itself with the idea that if we want to be one big happy people, "all it takes is the willingness to dare."

Which happens to encapsulate much of Cadillac's tagline: "Dare Greatly."

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, many brands have stepped into socio-political commentary.

In the Super Bowl, for example, Airbnb preached acceptance. Some might interpret this as also an appeal to local authorities to accept Airbnb's existence.

Equally, Audi offered an extremely persuasive ad about equal pay for women. Which was rendered slightly less persuasive when someone noticed there were no women on Audi's six-person executive team.

As for this Cadillac effort, it feels a touch confused, as if it's caught between wanting to capture a nation's mood, sprinkle some optimism upon it, and claim that the Cadillac brand somehow still matters.

It's hard when you're a nation whose leaders are troubled by immigration, yet a nation that can't help but fall in love with those foreign cars.