Cadillac unveils film featuring boxing underdog Chuck Wepner as part of its ‘Dare Greatly’ campaign

Cadillac has unveiled a short film called ‘Indomitable’ that tells the story of Chuck Wepner, the former pro boxer who became famous in 1975 for going 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali and is now considered by many to be the “Real Rocky.”

Created by NYC agency Van’s General Store (VGS), which was co-founded by actor Liev Schreiber and former Mother creative director Scott Carlson in 2012, the short documentary is part of Cadillac’s recently-launched ‘Dare Greatly’ campaign. The automaker unveiled ‘Dare Greatly’ last year during the Oscars in an effort to position the luxury brand as one that is for adventurers and risk-takers, with spots featuring Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and fashion designer Jason Wu. Months before Cadillac launched the campaign, it moved its headquarters from Detroit to New York City.

Earlier this week, Cadillac and VGS premiered ‘Indomitable’ at an event in New York City’s Lower East Side neighborhood, with both Wepner and Schreiber in attendance.

Schreiber plays Wepner in the biographical sports drama ‘The Bleeder,’ a separate film that premiered at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month. According to VGS, ‘The Bleeder’ served as the inspiration for ‘Indomitable,’ with both Schreiber and Carlson seeing an “opportunity to extend the narrative and work with Cadillac” to tell the story of how Wepner has had an impact on his hometown of Bayonne, New Jersey.

“The narrative started when Liev was invited to play Chuck in the sports biography 'The Bleeder,’” said Carlson. “Liev is co-founder of VGS and we are always selling our capabilities to deliver 'entertainment' rather than just 'content.' We were discussing it with our friends at Cadillac and discovered Chuck was a lifelong fan of theirs. It was easy from there to simply extend the narrative and see Chuck as an embodiment of 'dare greatly,’ after all he never took a step back and went 15 hard rounds with the world's favorite Muhammad Ali, from a modest gym in Bayonne just across the water from Manhattan.”

According to Carlson, VGS and Cadillac chose to premiere the film in the Lower East Side since the area is bustling with the creative, innovative types that the brand is hoping to reach.

“They are always looking out for new ways to express [Dare Greatly] to interesting audiences and a bunch of writers, artists and influencers in the Lower East Side is just that,” said Carlson. “This area is exploding with artists and we're seeking to marry some of that energy with our co-founders’ connections to deliver entertainment and well-designed work.”

Cadillac is featuring the film on its ‘Dare Greatly’ site and is promoting the film on social media.

Check out some photos from the Lower East Side event below:

Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she primarily covers independent agencies and B2B marketing. She also oversees The Drum’s “Independent Influence,” a weekly series that spotlights the work, perspectives and inspirations behind independent agencies. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal. She is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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