Digital world premiere at Porsche

The sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart is for the first time presenting the new 911 Targa using a purely virtual platform in its own web TV format. Head of Communications, Dr. Sebastian Rudolph, provides some insight.

The world premiere of the new 911 Targa was originally scheduled for the Beijing Motor Show, but contact restrictions due to the coronavirus crisis have resulted in a different solution: Porsche is therefore expanding its digital offering in product communication. The 9:11 Magazine web format, established in 2017, will introduce the “Targa legend” in three exclusive episodes. Dr. Sebastian Rudolph, Head of Communications, Sustainability and Politics at Porsche, explains the reasoning behind this.

Filming for the presentation of the new 911 Targa took place in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. What challenges does such a production present in these times affected by the coronavirus?

“A pioneering spirit is a fundamental part of our brand and is needed more than ever due to the current coronavirus situation. And that includes communication. Exploring new approaches. Rethinking the best laid plans. And sustainably protecting the health of everyone involved. We have succeeded thanks to our passion, creativity and an impressive team effort. Of course, we would love to present the 911 Targa live. Unfortunately, this is just not possible at the moment. So now we will show the latest model of our iconic sports car virtually. With a few surprise effects.”  

Dr. Sebastian Rudolph, Vice President Communications, Sustainability and Politics, 2020, Porsche AG
Dr. Sebastian Rudolph

The brand ambassadors Maria Sharapova and Jörg Bergmeister will also play their part in the three part video series. Why were they included in the production?

“Because they represent the brand. And they are part of the brand. Because they embody our Porsche culture. Their credibility makes them ideal for our Targa series. Maria Sharapova has been a Porsche fan for many years, and particularly of the 911. During her amazing tennis career and today as well. Jörg Bergmeister has celebrated numerous successes with the Porsche 911 as a racing driver. Over 20 years and with different 911 generations. These two bring their close relationship to our sports car to the production in a positive way.”

Will digital formats such as this replace conventional world premieres in future?

“I am thinking about opportunities here: digital formats will complement and enrich conventional world premieres, and will sometimes be used instead if it seems like a good idea. Our sports cars generate pure emotions that are also very powerful in a live presentation. We want to make dreams come true. We can communicate these dreams to customers and journalists virtually, but also at exclusive world premieres with spine-tingling experiences or driving events on the race track. The important factor here is that communication remains authentic and informative. And it must provide added value. Digital and classic formats are just two sides of the same coin.”

And how successful can the digital side of the coin be?

“The analysis of the Geneva International Motor Show provided some initial insight. The live presentation of our 911 Turbo S was scheduled there. The show was cancelled due to the coronavirus and we had to develop a virtual world premiere within a few days. The result: the reach and PR value achieved far exceeded the numbers from the previous year. In this case we also had the participation of a brand ambassador in Mark Webber. And it really was a team achievement as well.”

Preparations for 9:11 Magazine episode 15, 2020, Porsche AG

Journalists will have questions about the new products. At an event, details can be clarified directly using the actual car. How will you deal with this?

“By planning for it. And exploring innovative solutions as well. At the world premiere of the 911 Targa, we will use our “Go-Instore” technology for interviews for the first time. Our customer advisors use this in sales for live chats with the customers. Directly at the car, without the need to go into the showroom. In the dialogue, we will present various features to the connected journalists in the video chat using the actual car, live as it were. At the same time, we make use of tried and tested platforms. Just think of the Porsche Newsroom, which is visited by around three million users every year. It contains information, photos and videos, accessible by just a few clicks.” 

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