Cadillac’s Oscar ad channels Teddy Roosevelt

Cadillac' Oscars ad 2015
Cadillac' Oscars ad 2015

Cadillac’s advertising during this Sunday’s Academy Awards telecast will feature a spot that borrows from President Theodore Roosevelt’s famous “Man in the Arena” speech, but shows none of Cadillac’s cars or SUVs.

The spot’s name, “Dare Greatly,” is taken directly from a long speech Teddy Roosevelt delivered April 23, 1910, at the Sorbonne in Paris.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming … who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

The ad doesn’t credit Roosevelt.

The voice-over of this quote plays against a slow-motion montage of New York City street scenes scanning pedestrians, sprinkled with a few taxis and a bicycle locked to a parking meter or street sign and a view of a bridge. A 90-second version of the commercial that Cadillac posted will be divided Sunday into a 60-second and a 30-second ad.

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