The Spot: Porsche, Off the Pedestal

How the auto brand is making its cars look a little less precious

GENESIS: People on the fence about Porsches often don't see the cars as suitable for daily use. Yet, owners love the brand for its flexibility—the vehicles handle well in all weather and are functional enough to get the family around town. "It's the practical supercar to them," says Porsche Cars North America marketing manager Scott Baker. To change perception, Porsche tried something new—a focus on everyday usability. A 30-second spot called "Versatile" shows Porsche drivers loading the trunk with mulch, picking up the kids from school—surprising visions of versatility that broaden the brand's image beyond performance and prestige.

COPYWRITING: "Snowmobile." "Pickup truck." "School bus." On-screen titles name the unglamorous roles for which Porsches are actually well suited. "The idea is to put completely shocking words against the 911 and the Cayman and the Boxster," says Cramer-Krasselt chief creative officer Marshall Ross. "These misdirected or nonfitting lines force a double take." The spot ends with a voiced line that keeps the brand aspirational even as it veers into pedestrian territory: "Porsche. Engineered for magic. Every day." "The everyday relevance is something you can easily pick up visually," says Baker. "The emotional component is more difficult. The best way we could get at it was this word, magic." As usual, there is no tagline—the word Porsche is all you need to know, says Ross.

ART DIRECTION: To visually imply practicality, the cars were made to look beautiful but not manicured. They're not specially lit or heroically framed. The spot also maintains Porsche's traditional visual minimalism—a style that's clean and refined, never fussy. "We always try to have an element of sophistication with Porsche," says C-K creative director Gary Doyle. "That carried over to the staging of the visuals to the acting we had—it wasn't overdone—to the titles."

FILMING: Everything was shot in-camera, with no special effects—again, to take Porsche off the pedestal. A half-dozen vignettes were filmed over three days, all at different locations, which the director, Rob Sanders, chose for their limited color palette, so the vehicles would stand out.

TALENT: This element, more than any other, defined the spot: Sanders insisted on casting real Porsche owners. "You can't have people who are nervous of the car, or who aren't used to the shape of it. The guy who drops the bag of mulch into his hood—he's not scared of denting a $100,000 car. He just does it," he says. The verisimilitude extended to the wardrobes—the talent wore what they had on, often to Sanders's chagrin. "I would never have asked that mum to turn up in a pink top, with the yellow car," he says. "But when I play by my rules, I have to accept that a certain element of realism is going to come through."

SOUND: The music—a rootsy blues number by Junior Kimbrough called "Feels So Good #1"—"really helped dial up the magic, with the lyrics and the tempo," says Baker. Ross says the track, like the brand, just feels authentic. "We loved the lyrical connection," he says. "It felt like it was speaking for how drivers connect with this car."

MEDIA: The media plan literally celebrated the everyday, with spots airing every day of the week, says Omnicom Media Group's Bob Porcaro. (Auto buys tend to be backloaded closer to the weekend, when most purchases occur.) To extend the notion of frequency, the media team also ran spots close together. The broadcast buy was aimed at an affluent target on cable; the work is also running online and in cinemas. All media point to an immersive interactive experience at