It’s a scene everyone’s familiar with: lying on the floor with their legs angled upwards, a child is holding a toy car in their left hand and then sends it racing through the bedroom with a shove. This connection between the child and car continues. It will likely be remote-controlled cars in a couple of years and then the first car of their own when they turn 18. And later it just might be a sports car, agile and stylish, a prestigious expression of their own personality. This process is a textbook example of brand psychology.
Porsche seizes on this familiar image in the child’s bedroom. Visitors and passers-by alike can also observe a situation like this on the promenade in front of the Pérez Art Museum in Miami: with their legs angled upwards, someone appears to be playing with a car on the sand. But the proportions don’t exactly match with the surroundings, as the white 911 is a real vehicle, and the “child” an oversized sculpture of steel frame and fiberglass. Twelve meters long and 3.5 meters tall. Bright yellow with a crash helmet. An installation orchestrated by Scottish artist Chris Labrooy during the Art Basel fair in Miami.
For me, it’s important to make the digital and physical worlds overlap. Chris Labrooy, Scottish artist
For obvious reasons, Labrooy has christened his installation “Dream Big.” He himself has been a car enthusiast since he was little and is an impassioned Porsche collector. “Almost no other object instinctively stirs up childhood dreams for me quite like cars. I wanted to create a colorful, fun piece of art that speaks to people directly,” says Labrooy, who’s best known for his realistic digital installations that place vehicles in unusual places. Something else he generated on the computer in Miami this time was a tangible, interactive game with dimensions and associations. “For me, it’s important to make the digital and physical worlds overlap,” explains the artist.
The scenery illustrates how the challenges for modern luxury brands are changing. “Porsche is more than just a product,” explains Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board responsible for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. “Customers want to be part of a community, which is also what distinguishes the brand power. This can be communicated especially well with unique experiences and creative events.” Porsche is developing novel offers associated with the interface between analog and digital worlds, with the aim of targeting new and younger target groups. These range from colorful installations and carefully curated events in the strongholds of the global creativity community to virtually designed, unique NFTs.
“By 2025, millennials will account for half of all luxury consumption worldwide,” says Fernando Fastoso, Professor of Brand Management at Pforzheim University, who specializes in the requirements of new target groups and believes that 30 per cent of all global luxury sales will be conducted in online channels in 2025. “Before this can happen, luxury companies will need to expand the customer journey to all channels and link digital with nondigital touchpoints.”
This approach aligns with the standards of Porsche, a brand which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and represents pioneering spirit and innovation, not least because the boundaries between analogue objects and digital virtual experiences are increasingly blurring especially for younger generations. The art installation in Miami is also the starting point for virtual vehicles in the form of so-called non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which offer fans and collectors alike the opportunity to virtually influence and help design their very own white 911 as they see fit. A limited collection of digital works of art are being created during this creative journey in Web3. “For the technically minded target group, it’s important to be part of a dynamic community, which is exactly what the Porsche brand has always represented. It creates a close bond with people all over the world,” explains Robert Ader, Marketing Director of Porsche AG.
From the digital world to Tel Aviv, in the very heart of a bustling city, Porsche plans to bring creative minds and forward thinkers around the globe together with the SCOPES project, a series of urban festivals focusing on a new target group. “We deliberately choose iconic locations where a diverse range of communities can come together, and connections can be forged that extend beyond the event,” says Ader. “In this way, we can create a global community of creative minds that, thanks to this exchange, associate our brand with positive experiences.”
Over a period of five days, this concept in Tel Aviv will attract thousands of guests to a historical courtyard, where they can experience a journey through analogue and digital performances. A sound sculpture on a metal construction by Eliran Dahan. A mirror installation, in which Gal Vardi has concealed the legendary winner of the 1984 Paris–Dakar Rally, a Porsche 953. Or Assaf Reeb, who is researching virtual self-expression through avatars.
“By definition, luxury is exclusive,” explains Fastoso. The university professor wholeheartedly believes that the associated benefit of self-expression and status is not limited to the physical world. “The perception of exclusivity can also be generated with digital products. In addition to being owned, they can also be publicly consumed in virtual spaces.” New worlds which, not least of all, seize on old childhood dreams.
Text first published in the Annual & Sustainability Report 2022.