Cadillac gets a ride on Bush's coattails

Hip-hop culture is rife with volatile rivalries: Jay-Z vs. Nas, Dr. Dre vs. Eazy-E, and Eminem vs. Moby, Jermaine Dupri, Canibus, Everlast, Benzino, Tommy Lee, Congress, Tipper Gore, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

Hip-hop culture is rife with volatile rivalries: Jay-Z vs. Nas, Dr. Dre vs. Eazy-E, and Eminem vs. Moby, Jermaine Dupri, Canibus, Everlast, Benzino, Tommy Lee, Congress, Tipper Gore, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

But one battle has raged longer and stronger than all those combined: Cadillac vs. Mercedes.

Rappers have "debated" the merits of their chosen ride for years, taking sides in their lyrics and their seven-car garages, with no clear victor in sight.

Last week, George W. Bush finally took a stand. Or a ride, to be exact.

His first journey down storied Pennsylvania Avenue as a second-termer was also the first appearance of the redesigned Cadillac 2006 DTS limousine.

Talk about high-powered product placements/endorsements.

Of course, it was hardly the first time a Caddy was called upon to chauffeur a commander-in-chief. Woodrow Wilson rode one through Boston in a World War II victory parade, and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower all had souped-up, tricked-out, ammo-happy Caddy convertibles as their main rides. But don't tell the media that.

The DTS's inaugural debut was considered newsworthy enough to get coverage from Reuters, the AP, the Chicago Tribune, US News & World Report, The Washington Times, the Detroit Free Press, Forbes.com, and even the UK's The Guardian.

As for Bush boosting the Caddy's rapper cred, it's hard to say what sort of impact he'll really have. After all, the Escalade, not the DTS, is the weapon of choice for hip-hop royalty. And Bush isn't exactly the most popular guy in rapper land. Perhaps this round goes to Mercedes.

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's Washington, DC, bureau chief.

    Ratings: 1. Clueless 2. Ill-advised 3. On the right track 4. Savvy 5. Ingenious
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