If you’re in the market for a little Sportscar these days, the first name on your mind will undoubtedly be Porsche. Old Ferry Porsche’s companies come a long way in its 70-year history, mostly by making near perfect performance cars, though their outstanding advertising has undeniably helped in cementing the brand as a byword for Sportscar. Nothing comes close to Porsche’s consistently ingenious ad concepts and outstanding copy; in the world of automotive advertising they’ve set the bar to which all automakers should strive to achieve. To celebrate Porsche’s 70th birthday, I thought I’d share my five favourite Porsche ads.
Smug, there’s no better way to describe this ad, but rightly so. When you top the first eight places at the 24 Hours of Le Mans you get to be smug, and when it produces an ad as cool as this, I’d say we can give them a pass. The last line of this ad is fantastic: “There’s always room for improvement. Even at Porsche.” You cocky bastards.
To be honest, there’s not much to say about this ad, because you get it; a picture tells a thousand words, and this one’s no exception. Even so, the minimal copy is perfectly executed whilst the use of negative space perfectly ties in with the ads simple, definitive concept. This ad perfectly encapsulates what makes Porsche’s advertising so successful; their confidence.
Conceived for the Chinese market in 2013, Porsche added another layer to this outdoor ad, timing it perfectly around the Chinese zodiac; 2013, the year of the horse. Few automakers would have the sheer guile to create an ad this audacious, yet when done right, it works.
HAVE I GOT A CAR FOR YOU
Another example of Porsche’s fantastically bold marketing approach, this late 80’s print ad would never fly by today’s standards, but maybe that’s what gives it such a devilish charm. Showing off Porsche’s self-awareness of their brand identity, there’s more to this headline than just prefab text that could work for any performance car; like in the ‘rear horsepower’ ad, there’s a hidden layer to this ad.
Old school 911’s are infamous for their unforgiving wayward handling, the early Turbo models in particular stinging many Porsche owners. The year of this ads publication, 1989, saw the introduction of a four-wheel-drive Porsche 911 (hence the 4 in 911 Carrera 4), helping harness the 911’s tail happy tendencies. With some context, all of a sudden the copies meaning makes perfect sense. “Got a small penis?” with this 4WD Porsche you can show off to chicks without popping a couple bravery pills or shelling out for driving lessons from Stirling Moss. The final line of this ad seals the deal: “Ask for Tiny”. Ok Porsche, no need to rub it in.
It’s generally considered bad form for one automaker to go after another, but in this case, I think we’ll let Porsche off the hook. This ad perfectly encapsulates the universal truth of what we all dream of in our youth, and I for one can tell you it wasn’t a Mitsubishi.
Advertising must have an inherent truth, and Porsche not only had the performance figures, but the aesthetics and pedigree to back up their claim. Few automakers are in the position to be this brash, though I reckon Porsche would still be in a position to pull this off today.