Porsche Tries To Move Away From Its Performance Image

The automaker wants people to consider Porsches for everyday use, not just as a third or fourth car

Very few people buy a Porsche and think to themselves, "I can't wait to drive this to the store to buy mulch."

The brand that's built its reputation on serious performance cars wants people to start thinking about Porsche as a car you can drive every day.

"It's not only about the weekend joyride," said David Pryor, vice president of marketing at Porsche Cars North America. "It's the only car in the world that combines true sports car exhilaration and the driveability for daily use."

In today's gas-conscious world, having your brand associated with high performance is a bit of a downside. People think all high-powered cars are gas-guzzlers, so many people are turning away from the brand.

Scott Baker, manager of marketing and communications for Porsche North America, says people don't think they can use a Porsche every day. They're waiting until they have money for a third or fourth car, he says.

So the company is rolling out an advertising campaign that focuses on daily use. The "Engineered for Magic, Everyday" campaign shows actual Porsche owners going through their day, cleaning snow off the windshield, heading to the hardware store, getting out of the office, picking up the kids from school. In each scene, the cars are morphed into something else: A snow mobile, pickup truck, getaway car, and school bus.

The closing voice-over repeats the message Porsche wants driven home: "Engineered for Magic. Everyday."

Will they buy it?

So are consumers really going to buy into the idea that they can use their Porsche for trips to Costco?

The campaign is different from your usual luxury car ads, which focus on all the elements that make their cars cool, not mundane.

"What is markedly different about this campaign is we're not selling the dream-car mystique of Porsche -- that's already a given," says Marshall Ross, chief creative officer of Cramer-Krasselt, the creators of the ads.

Porsche sent 200 Flip cameras to customers, asking them to film themselves doing everyday activities. Those clips are highlighted on a website.

"We're programmed to think that you can't have your cake and eat it too," Baker said, "that there's no way you can have this car and drop your kids off at school and run to the home store."

But still, a Porsche as your everyday car? Fuel economy is certainly not Porche's strong point. According to FuelEconomy.gov, Porsche's cars range from 14 mpg to 20 mpg city, and from 21 to 29 mpg on highway. Its most fuel-efficient car is the 2.9-liter 7-speed Porsche Boxter, and the worst is the 3.8-liter, six-speed Porsche 911 GTS RS.

Bottom line: Those who can afford a Porsche can probably afford the gas that goes with it, so the automaker's efforts to woo back customers may actually work.

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