“The Sound of Porsche: Stories of the brand.”

‘The Sound of Porsche’ is not just about the engines roaring anymore. There is more to it.

Porsche has launched a premium pop-store next to the High Line, Manhattan on 14th Street – yes the meatpacking district where all that cool things happen in NYC right!

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Andre Oosthuizen, VP Marketing for Porsche Cars North America stressed that the aim of the pop-up store is to connect with people in new ways and tell the brand stories via videos. It is more about connecting with the future buyers and attracting people who may find dealer showrooms intimidating or annoying to begin with.

The Media Stations with noise-cancelling Bose Headphones

The media stations offer 16 custom records created by Porsche, which are actually short videos and can be enjoyed with the noise-cancelling Bose QuietComfort headphones. The content of these videos are short films showing Porsche clippings from the racing world, Hollywood and even brand videos on Porsche design DNA with animated sketches.

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Highlights include ‘Electrifying Performance’ and ‘One of Us’ which feature Porsche racecar drivers Mark Webber and Patrick Dempsey, Boris Apenbrink (Porsche enthusiast) featured in ‘Porsche Exclusive – The Most Personal Car’ and Sally Carrera in ‘A Porsche Goes to Hollywood.’

Sound Lab Virtual Drive Experience

The lab is also powered by Bose, where the iconic 911 Carrera 4S Coupe can be experienced virtually through sound and visual mapping, selecting a metropolitan melody (urban drive), country cadence (mountain pass) or racing rhythm (the Nurburgring).

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A virtual drive experience experienced in a store is certainly better than any app or microsite viewed in 3D glasses!

Porsche Design Store and a Design Competition

How can the Porsche pop-up not have any design products for sale and not intrigue you enough to participate in it! There are enough sophisticated Porsche Design products that can be purchased and a ‘blank canvas’ where you can express what the ‘Sound of Porsche’ means to you.

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The designs created in the Design Corner can be uploaded to the social networks with hashtag #SoundsOfPorsche and the best artist will win a trip to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany (I have been there three times and it is such a beautiful museum).

The Experiential Side of Automotive Brands

In our marketing & communications industry we have been constantly hearing about ‘Experiential’ and brands like ‘Audi’ (with Audi City), ‘Apple’, ‘Tesla’ and ‘Nike’ have been one of the first ones to champion the store/showroom experiences in line with their brand personality and the advanced technology.

Many brands try really hard to transfer and reflect their brand image in a physical atmosphere but fail or end up compromising due to low budgets, lack of good talent or simply because of lack of knowledge when it comes to technology and innovation.

At the end of the day it is all about innovation and staying relevant with the environment around us. This does not mean that the dealerships should die and you should throw all your money into the product development and personal stores but use the knowledge and current available resources to enhance what you have now. A very simple start for this could be to provide iPads/tablets across dealerships and allow visitors to surf your site comfortably, read a bit about the car in peace and then have a dealer interact with you, answer your questions, etc. There is probably already a coffee machine or a small cafe in many of these places, why not leave an iPad there asking people to share their thoughts, experience at the dealership etc. – this way we learn about them and use the real experience to see where we can improve. (This is just an example in the current context of automotive dealerships and pop-up shops).

Of course, I cannot stress enough on placing big-screen PCs or iMac’s where the ‘configurator’ is permanently open. Many marketers don’t feel comfortable putting these up in the dealerships because they feel that the car is already there or assume that people may have checked the configurator online. It is essential to leave a little room for people to explore the product in peace, without constantly having to socialize and small-talk with the dealers. I tried the Nike shoe customizer in their Covent Garden store in London 3 years ago and I still remember and talk about it. Now I am writing about it! Though I did not buy the shoe there and then, I explored it and continued the activity at home with my friends to decide how I should customize my shoe. Then I went in store to speak to the Nike guys, to cross-check some stuff and finally placed my order. Not saying that every user will return to ask for a car but people will surely remember and talk about it!

Furthermore, where possible, the brand partnerships should be revealed in the physical environment too, to enhance the experience. That is exactly what Porsche is doing with Bose. What a great opportunity for Bose to get some recognition in New York where the majority of the city is donning the ‘Beats by Dre’ headphones and hogging all the limelight, thanks to their recent Apple acquisition. Although, secretly I feel that Porsche and ‘Beats by Dre’ make a good team and Bose to me is very BMW or Audi.

Porsche ‘CAN DO’ such initiatives as they have ‘championed’ all the pillars that make their DNA in terms of technology, design, performance, innovation and even brand experiences online (Premium website and social media content) and offline (Premium dealerships and beautiful Porsche Museum). Once your brand is able to champion or strengthen its core product and services, such initiatives are welcomed and work. There is no point providing a premium experiential atmosphere when your site is all clunky, your social media is outdated and your sales and customer service team appears to be disinterested. Every touch point is the face of your brand and it best put on a huge smile, be patient and help the customers decide.

What happened here is that Audi City may have been one of the firsts to provide an enhanced digital experience in store but they did not innovate it further (well not yet). And now we have this beautiful experiential pop-up from Porsche that hits all the sweet spots of what the people are currently enjoying – music, videos and premium design products + a canvas to express themselves. Even if you don’t participate in the competition, you will take some pictures in store and share on your social networks. Who doesn’t know Porsche and who would not want to know what’s going on in this pop-up store?

The Sound of Porsche will be open to the public Sept. 16 through Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you are from the Ferrari or Maserati team and reading this – YOUR TURN! Show us what you’ve got!! 😉

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Hermès – Apps and Orange Boxes Observatory

Hermès is certainly having a great year. Following up from my last post on ‘Je Suis Un Cheval‘ and ‘Saddle Personaliser‘ here are the other initiatives by Hermès that certainly top the luxury fashion brand digital campaigns list.

The Break App

The App is best described by the brand on their YouTube channel as

A random dose of Hermès
The handy app to help you take a break from the harsh realities of office, airport or public transport…or even a dull date.
Pull the tie and let the game begin!

Each time the user opens the app there is a new surprise content in form of short films, games, tie pattern videos, funny stories, new collection info and even tutorials/tips on how to tie a tie. The fun part is that the user has to pull on the signature orange tie to reveal a new piece of content.

Silk Knots App

The Silk Knots App shows the latest collection of scarves and step-by-step guide on they can be worn in so many interesting ways, as we see in the video preview.

Besides the apps that focus on their signature collections, Hermès also launched an interactive version of their bi-annual magazine on tablets Le Monde d’Hermès.

Users interact with each piece of content and create an origami bestiary out of a selection of images and share these with their friends. The call-to-action drives readers directly to the store locator with the message saying ‘ Where can I find Le Monde d’Hermès?

After all this great work, there is finally some fun content on the Orange Boxes, the DNA of the Hermès packaging and corporate brand identity. I really like how Hermès tries to imagine what the Orange Boxes are actually up to. A series of short films show different shapes and sizes of Hermès boxes doing funny things representing a wild creature…I mean we see animation revealing animal-like behaviour in a fun way. The series of videos have been released on their Facebook page and on a playlist on the YouTube Channel. So far there are 6 videos, may be more to come.

To sum up, the color orange became a part of the Hermès packaging since the World War II post era, when there was shortage of paper supplies and orange colored bags were mostly more easily available and till today the color remains and the orange boxes have evolved over the years and look as luxurious as their products.

Hopefully there is an app coming on the ‘Orange Boxes’. Oooo! I have ideas….but won’t give it away here 😉

Audi lights up New York for the World Cup

Audi USA has done it yet again. The ‘it’ here is ‘a simple thought that goes a long way’.

Top global brands are fighting for their share of attention during this World Cup and to leverage the millions of eye balls and attention on this global event, Audi USA did not simply book an out-of-home just like many other sponsors and other non-sponsors-football-enthusiastic brands. They made a really clever move and also a bold one, considering that football is not a mainstream sport in the USA.

Audi put 28 of their A8 models in 45 shipping containers stacked next to each other at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York and used their LED lights to reflect the football World Cup game scores.

It’s placement is such a clever idea as the Manhattan highway is pretty far on the other side. What a simple and clever way to show or ‘show-off’ their LED technology reflecting the score for the New Yorkers on the other side.

One tiny improvement in this idea would have been to permanently show a ‘hashtag’ e.g. AudiLED to get people to share the scores online, talk about the LED lights and spread the word online and win a test-drive at night to experience the power of the LED lights. Of course people will talk about it, so why not give them a hashtag and do more with it.

Nevertheless, awesome idea. Awesome brand. And how cool for the German brand Audi to promote Team USA for the game today.

Follow the game on Twitter with hashtag   and find out more about the AUDI LED technology on http://www.audiusa.com/innovation/design/LED

PlayStation shocks travelers

PlayStation Benelux installed an electric socket at a station and the person who is able to tolerate the shock at the highest rate wins the ‘Second Son’ game. Pretty cool and simple installation by TBWA Belgium.

Pepsi – Unbelivable Bus Shelter Ad

Wonderful ad by Pepsi as a part of their ‘Unbelievable’ Campaign running in the UK.

Duracell (Canada) – Moments of Warmth

Some like it ‘chaud’….now that is a very warm welcome to the world of advertising by Duracell Canada. Done by Cossette, agency based in Toronto. A simple idea, adding value and fun in the super cold, a little dull and long winters of Canada. What would have been cool is if every time someone interacted with it, it automatically generated a tweet on Duracell Canada’s Twitter account with #PowerWarmth hashtag and some funny one-liners with it just to have some fun. Good idea anyhow…

Coca-Cola: Invisible Vending Machine

For Valentine’s Day, Coca-Cola found a really sweet way to surprise the couples with yet another ‘Vending Machine’. This vending machine is only visible to the couples i.e. when couples walk past this hidden machine it interacts and asks for their names. The couples are then presented with a pair of Coca-Cola cans with their names on it.

A really cool idea and seems like the mechanic here is that when two people walk by it reveals the hidden machine. Would be even cooler if the machine allowed you to take a picture of yourself and tweet it via the Coca-Cola official Twitter channel with the campaign hashtag #Shareacoke