New Porsche Ads: “Everyday” cars?

Once a legendary brand like Porsche achieves the pinnacle of reverence, recognition, and respect, there’s nowhere left to go but sideways, if not down.

The marketing geniuses in Stuttgart want us to believe that the Porsche 911 was “Engineered for magic, everyday.”

Fast Tube by Casper

Fast Tube by Casper

It isn’t unusual to reposition luxury items as durable goods during times of economic distress, but who buys a 911 because it has space for manure and groceries? Note the lack of footage depicting racing, scenic drives up the coast, or power sliding with plumes of white smoke. Note the absence of professional drivers in in closed courses.

The mundane has displaced the aspirational.

In the “Everyday” campaign, Porsche’s iconic brand achieves an uncomfortable level of humility and humanity, risking its lofty status as unobtanium for the lucky few. Perhaps this is Porsche’s way of disconnecting the brand from the self-absorbed Bluetoothing yuppies who define the average Boxster or Panamera owner, or maybe Porsche is backing away from the trendy botox soccer moms who cruise around in Cayennes with latte-filled cupholders.

Motoring enthusiasts tend to shy away from such characters, tucked away in their insolent chariots, but I’m compelled to concede that their trend-setting purchases lend an air of aspirational achievement to everything from pants to purses to automobiles.

They are, for better or worse, the envy of lower and middle classes, the chic and stylish who latch on to trends that eventually trickle their way down. Likewise, Porsche’s brand image is the envy of the auto industry.

“Everyday” appeals to that audience, depicting 35-50 year old accomplished professionals doing grocery runs, dropping off children, or commuting. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of fantasy and imagination — it doesn’t elevate the cars above the monotonous routines of American life, blending them in rather than offering a form of escape.

The appeal of a high-end sports car is its inherent impracticality and its strict focus on performance, a way for the driver to convey to Capri Sun-slinging slobs in minivans that he’s successful enough to buy a completely unnecessary car, that he didn’t have to settle or compromise to make someone else happy, that he has the means to achieve total satisfaction without having to settle.

For comparison:

Fast Tube by Casper

If you have a new 911 in your three-, four-, or five-car garage, you make a clear assertion, intentional or not, that you have the means to own a sports car, a delightfully wasteful and impractical toy that you exclusively enjoy. That’s the nature of aspirational marketing, and after working tirelessly for decades to achieve that coveted status, Porsche has chosen to set it aside in favor of messages more suited for Honda and Toyota.



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