How Cadillac blew a Great Marketing opportunity

By By Professor Clifford Benton
Updated: March 7, 2011


Troy "Escalade Jackson"

Queens, NY – Troy be nimble, Troy be quick.

Troy was humble and Troy was slick.

He was listed at 6’8″ and nearly 400 lbs. But if you ever saw him play, up close and personal, like I did…

Standing an inch off the court on a Friday night, summer, Lincoln Park (in Southeast Queens a stone’s throw from the Van Wyck Expressway right off of Linden Boulevard) with my eight-year old daughter or four-year old son, I saw him play. He didn’t always stay down low on the defensive end. There’d be occasions where he was shadowing the point guard, hounding him. And the point guard would have a look of disbelief. “What is this guy trying to do? He better get on his man.”

Then, in a split second, the big man would slap the ball out of the point guard’s hand (think Walt “Clyde” Frazier), get the loose ball, break the point guard’s ankle with a spin move (think Earl “The Pearl” Monroe) and then lay it up smoothly (think Dean “The Dream” Meminger).

The guy on the mic would scream, “The Escalade.” This is before And 1. There was another big guy called “The Expedition” but he was somewhat smaller. He was a little guy trapped in a big guy’s body.

Troy be nimble, Troy be quick.

Troy be humble, and Troy be slick. Troy Jackson. Brother of a guy who dished out more than his fair share of assists. Brother of the guy who should be a coach in the NBA. Brother of a guy who is a rather decent sports commentator on ESPN—Mark Jackson if you please.

Troy “Escalade” Jackson passed away too soon. He died in his sleep at the age of 35 on All-Star Saturday. Never spoke to him but you could see he was a class act. No pretense.

A few years passed from his glory days at Lincoln Park (a.k.a. Thug Paradise, cousin to Ajax Park which is home to the “Almighty” Basketball tournament) and I saw him on television. Not just any television show. ESPN. They had a street ball reality television show, and Troy Jackson was one of the stars. Then, I saw him on the cover of Sports Illustrated. You want the best for any guy that comes from around the way. His honor is your honor. His badge is your badge. His accolade is your accolade—which takes us to the Escalade.

What were the advertisers of Cadillac thinking—or not thinking? You have a rather large man who moves like a cat. He’s powerful, unassuming, and refined. His attributes mirror the image of your car. This is before the economic recession so big cars with not-so-big gas mileage were acceptable. How do you not have a guy whose nickname is the “Escalade” endorse your car/SUV?

He’s big, so is your car. He can handle (the rock/pill/ball), so can your car. He has plenty of (horse) power, so does your car. He carries himself well and happens to be “articulate.” Team him up with the other streetball And 1 star, The Professor, and you have a hit.

Troy is tall, black, and heavy—the Professor is small, white, and light. It’s a can’t-miss series of commercials.

So Cadillac blew it. Maybe they had reservations because he was a “streetball legend.” Maybe they thought he did not mesh with their demographic. Maybe they thought he was a risk and would get involved in some altercation or be arrested. Maybe they just weren’t thinking.

He became a universal figure. Famous in his own right.

Troy be nimble, Troy be quick.

Troy was humble and Troy was slick. BASN’s deepest condolences. Rest in Peace. Peace in Rest.