Cadillac bases new ad campaign on book by shame researcher Brené Brown

Brené Brown is not a Cadillac pitchwoman
(Image credit: Facebook/BreneBrown)

Someone at Cadillac, or its ad company Publicis, is a fan of Brené Brown, a researcher who's made a name for herself studying the benefits of vulnerability and the downsides of shame. Earlier this week, the car company launched an ad campaign, "Dare Greatly," based on a 1910 speech by Teddy Roosevelt. Most recently, the quote has been revitalized by Brown, who titled one of her recent books Daring Greatly (2012). Brown noticed the ads, and so did her fans, she writes at her site. It wasn't entirely coincidental:

Cadillac sent me an email last week informing me about the campaign and letting me know that they were inspired by the quote, and particularly by my book. I am in no way involved with the Cadillac campaign. I'm not receiving any payment and I wasn't consulted or informed in advance of the launch. When I first learned about the campaign I experienced many different strong emotions — fear, anger, vulnerability — but mostly scarcity. [Brown]

"Scarcity" is the title of the first chapter of her book Daring Greatly, and it focuses on America's "culture of 'never enough'" — which is to say, the idea that we are always needlessly striving for something, and always come up short. Which is an odd inspiration for Cadillac. But, as Brown says, "Teddy Roosevelt's quote has been inspiring people for over 100 years," so why not luxury car makers? You can hear Roosevelt's quote in the Cadillac ad below. —Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.