Porsche Makes a U-Turn: Just Your “Everyday” $80,000 Sports Car!

When you think about the Porsche brand, you generally associate them with characteristics such as class, exclusivity, luxury and performance.

Since their establishment in 1931, the company’s marketing campaigns have generally reflected these characteristics, building a narrative dominated by sex appeal and extreme material desires.

In the past few days, Porsche have launched a sophisticated and extensive integrated marketing campaign, in order to tackle decreasing levels of demand for the prestigious automobile brand.

Porsche are attempting to falsify the stereotype that their vehicles are purely ostentatious symbols of status. Market research sanctioned by Porsche suggested that consumers viewed its cars as “impractical purchases for everyday use.”

The “everyday magic” campaign therefore not only emphasizes the luxurious qualities of the vehicles, but also highlights characteristics not usually associated with sports cars: utility, convenience and multi-purpose use.

\”Everyday magic\” TV Spot

Porsche VP, David Pryor argued that rather than abandoning the traditional identity of the brand, the “everyday magic” campaign is simply placing, “a little bit of focus on that every day side of it.”

The “everyday” campaign is a truly integrated campaign. Porsche have implemented print, TV, online and social media content in order to reinforce their change strategy on a universal scale. Each of the components of the campaign direct the audience to:

http://www.porscheeveryday.com/

The website offers a comprehensive platform which reflects the goals of the “everyday magic” campaign. A combination of videos, user-generated content and cool artwork help to make the messages more legitimate and believable. The sports cars are portrayed in ways such as “the world’s coolest school bus” and “safe enough for three kids; durable enough for the Swiss Alps.”

But does this “U-Turn” really work? By promoting these characteristics, are Porsche compromising their status as a luxury brand?

Are they sacrificing their identity in favor of appealing to a large segment of the market? Or is this a smart strategy? By implementing a “everyday” campaign can they appeal to a new market while still protecting their traditional clientele?

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7 Responses to Porsche Makes a U-Turn: Just Your “Everyday” $80,000 Sports Car!

  1. weitbrec says:

    Marketing Porsches as cars that are versatile enough for everyday use doesn’t necessarily have to compromise their status as a luxury car brand. On the contrary. The most basic Porsche models are actually not even that much more expensive than the top classes of ‘everyday’ car makers such as Nissan, Mitsubishi, etc (see http://autos.msn.com/browse/Porsche.aspx), but the brand image associated with a Porsche is an entirely different one. If one drives a Porsche, even the most basic model, it’s so much ‘cooler’ and more ‘impressive’ than most other, non-luxury car brands. As long as Porsche continues its expensive models as well I don’t see a danger in making its lower end lines more appealing for ‘everyday use’; rather, it could create another form of status symbol (“So, you’re driving a Porsche to? But what model/line?”) in which those that can afford the more expensive Porsche models are once again on top.

    If they maintain their engineering, quality, and design, Porsche will always remain part of the luxury car market; their reputation and brand image isn’t solely based on an idea but also on a well-working, lasting, and appealing product. Thus, it might actually be a smart step to make consumers more aware of the more basic Porsche models and to emphasize their everyday use, as it could also help to further reinforce Porsche’s position as a luxury car brand with a very valuable product.

  2. menewell says:

    Interesting post and a very interesting strategy that Porsche is beginning to utilize. As you outline in the post Porsche VP, David Pryor argued that rather than abandoning the traditional identity of the brand, the “everyday magic” campaign is simply placing, “a little bit of focus on that every day side of it.” That’s great, but one of the things in my mind that make a Porsche a Porsche is that not everyone has one, you don’t see many of them so when you do they stand out. This campaign, as you communicated, seems to be trying to target a larger audience and move away from the “luxury sports car” image to as Pryor says himself an, “every day side of Porsche” image. Personally I don’t like it, and don’t think it will be very successful as they are going away from their loyal target audience. What do you think?

    • sherlynk says:

      Even though my initial reaction to this campaign was a positive one, because it had me intrigued, I definitely see your point (menewell). It’ll be interesting to see how Porsche’s sales numbers change in the next few months. I think the existing Porsche owners could either gripe and grumble because the status and glory that their cars magically bring seems to be diluted by this campaign’s appeal to the everyman, or really get on board because the ads show that the mundane every day errands is spiced up and value added when made possible by a Porsche. Other prominent car brands like Rolls Royce, Jaguar and even Mini Cooper (though the latter is not considered quite as luxurious) have cult-like groups of owners who love the brands with fierce passion, and some are quicker to speak when their car-owner status is threatened. For example, Many who drive Rolls Royce cars refuse to acknowledge that the company is owned by BMW, which also manufactures Mini Coopers. I wonder how vocal the current Porsche fanatics will prove themselves to be?

  3. bloomrh says:

    @Christine – I agree that the “everyday magic” campaign could have been a useful opportunity for Porsche to split their target market between high-end luxury consumers and perhaps less wealthy consumers of their lower range sports cars.

    The only problem is that the “everyday magic” campaign is mainly concerned with advertising the “911” model, which certainly falls within the high-end luxury category (retailing at around $100,000!).

    The problem with sports cars is that people who purchase them are generally not interested in the utility of the product, but rather the brand/personality/image that goes along with owning one. The thought process is definitely there, but the execution could have been a little better.

    @Mattson – I completely agree that the campaign has not been executed effectively. This is clearly an attempt to differentiate the Porsche product from their principal competitors, which doesn’t necessarily work.

    The current economic climate is clearly not conducive to marketing luxury products. Perhaps Porsche’s marketing team would have been better off saving their resources for a less “rainy day.”

    I think this is a bold and risky attempt from Porsche in terms of repositioning themselves within the automobile market, and I suppose only time will tell how effective a strategy it proves to be.

    • Christine says:

      If it’s only the 911 model that’s supposed to be the ‘everyday’ Porsche, that’d definitely be a misfit. I just had a look online whether Porsche also has this marketing campaign in Germany, but apparently they don’t, even though in Germany cars are the penultimate status symbols until today and people will actually invest a lot of (loan) money into them.

      The only remaining reason I can think of why Porsche would have a marketing campaign like this one is that they may have discovered a certain type of consumer that would go for the everyday, yet expensive 911 and the image associated with it. One development that can be observed in Germany, again, for example, is that the buyers of Porsches become increasingly younger. Porsches used to be the ‘midlife-crisis’ cars that 45-50 year old men bought to look younger and more dynamic, but recently I’ve seen even 25 to 30 year olds driving Porsches, particularly when their DINKY (Double Income No Kids Yet).

      Could that be a trend Porsche tries to make use of/encourage in other countries, too? The 911 is also called the ‘Allrounder’, which may be a key selling point for younger consumers in particular.

  4. Jen Hau says:

    this reminds me of how Chanel decided to have Blake Lively (Gossip Girl star) to be their ambassador because she is the “all american girl”. Lively’s first statement is that she’ll carry the chanel purse like every girl. both chanel and porsche have established brand images and want to emphasize the usability of their products. i think the porsche everyday campaign will be successful because these high end brands can differentiate themselves with other brands by price and the limited access to their products. not everyone can buy it. even if consumers have enough money, they might not be able to have access to the popular products because the products are sometimes limited or have a long waitlist.

    that is, there are other ways in which high end brands use to remain in the same status while having campaigns that show their products are suitable for everyday use.

  5. SLiddon says:

    I like the idea of Porsche trying to market their car towards “everyday” use in order to increase demand by enlarging their customer base but it seems they went a little too far in that direction. Porsche should never be mentioned in the same sentence as “pickup truck,” much less advertised. While I do think this marketing campaign should lead to an increase in sales, portraying their brand as less prestigious has a myriad of long term unintended consequences seem to far outweigh the short term benefits.