GM, Cadillac pay tribute to Aretha Franklin

More than 100 pink Cadillacs lined Seven Mile Road in Detroit on Friday, paying homage to Franklin’s Grammy-winning 1985 hit “Freeway of Love.” Photo credit: Tyler Clifford

DETROIT — General Motors and its Cadillac luxury brand are paying tribute to legendary singer Aretha Franklin on the day of her funeral service here.

The automaker on Friday adorned the LED screens of its Renaissance Center headquarters in pink with the word “RESPECT” atop the tallest building that typically displays the company’s brand logos.

GM also took out full-page tribute ads in the Friday editions of USA Today, Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times that have a pink background with white writing, “1942 – 2018” and “RESPECT.” It also features a traditional Cadillac emblem that was featured in her “Freeway of Love” video and album single cover from 1985.

Franklin, whose voice and music became a touchstone of the Motor City’s car culture and Detroit 3 marketing efforts, died Aug. 16. She was 76.

Franklin, affectionately dubbed “Lady Soul,” “Soul Sister No. 1” and the “Queen of Soul” by critics and fans alike, starred in a number of ads, including a 1980s anthem for Chevrolet, which fell under the brand’s national “Heartbeat of America” campaign. It dominated the nation’s family rooms when the fall TV season began in October 1988.

Franklin’s funeral service also features more than 100 pink Cadillacs, which were organized by the Greater Grace Temple church, which is conducting Franklin’s service.

Cadillac tweeted out a picture of the ad, which GM CEO Mary Barra then retweeted.

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