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Porsche explores elusive aspect of EV through child’s eyes

December 26, 2019

Porsche's Taycan stars in "Soul." Image credit: Porsche


German automaker Porsche is looking to drive attention towards its all-electric Taycan by focusing on an intangible element of the model’s appeal.

A short film, titled “Soul,” follows as a young girl ponders about the nature of the soul, pointing to the idea that the Taycan also has depth. As Porsche enters the electric car category, the marque has been positioning its Taycan alongside its other sports cars, speaking to its existing audience of fans by communicating that nothing has changed.

"Young boys are curious and Porsche has always played on the narrative that their cars are always a young boy's dream of owning one someday," said Christos Joannides, founder/creative director of Flat 6 Concepts, Beverly Hills, CA. "And also plays on the never ending thirst for knowledge.

"They parallel that with the Porsche 'soul' – the premise of no matter what engine, electric or not, the handling the precision and the immaculate design the soul of Porsche remains intact. No matter what."

Mr. Joannides is not affiliated with Porsche, but agreed to comment as an industry expert. Porsche was reached for comment.

Seeking soul
In September, Porsche revealed its first fully electric vehicle, with a focus on eco-friendly driving that extends beyond the engine.

The Porsche Taycan is the first Porsche with an option for leather-free interiors, as consumers increasingly seek out alternatives to animal-derived materials. The car also incorporates recycled materials, furthering the sustainable positioning of the Taycan (see story).

As the automaker begins deliveries of the Taycan, it has released a short film that centers on the model.

Porsche’s spot opens on a close-up shot of a girl sitting in the back seat of a car. As she drives through a city at night, the girl’s thoughts are broadcast to the viewer as a voiceover.

“I wonder if everyone has one. What about me?” she wonders as she passes a man working on a light installation.

As the car drives by boats on the water, a couple is shown kissing on the deck. “Does it change over time?” asks the girl.

Slices of life are shown as a group of young women emerge laughing from a van ready for a night out and a man gets a haircut. The viewer explores the world through the girl’s eyes, with shots showing the sense of wonder on her face.

The girl questions whether buildings and toys have a soul. She further wonders the same about babies and animals.

“What does it look like? Can we see it? Can we feel it?” the girl considers. Visualizing her internal dialogue, a gust of wind picks up a pile of petals and a person warms their hands by a fire.

The girl finally considers whether soul can be heard. For a moment, the video pauses to spotlight the quiet Taycan engine.

Finally speaking out loud, the girl asks her father, “Papa, what is soul?” The dad, who is in the driver’s seat, looks back and smiles at her through the rearview mirror while stopped.

The Taycan then purrs and drives through the city, with the focus of the shots shifted to the car’s exterior.

Porsche's Soul film featuring the Taycan

"It certainly is a sophisticated ad catering to a sophisticated clientele," Mr. Joannides said. "It captures the essence of a new chapter at Porsche. A new electric era that despite its lack of an 'engine,' it still retains the Porsche DNA.

"I think it will resonate with its intended fan base," he said. "They are not selling electric. They are selling a new era of the future, that bears the Porsche logo."

EV emoting
As it enters the EV market, Porsche's marketing has led with emotion. For instance, the marque highlighted its blossoming relationship with electric vehicles through visual love letters.

Porsche’s #ElectricityTalks series built anticipation ahead of the launch of the Taycan. The films were set alongside famous landmarks that demonstrate the immense power of electricity, a response to skeptics who do not believe electric engines can coexist with Porsche’s sports cars (see story).

Luxury brand building today is about more than products, with customer service becoming the key differentiator among automotive marques, according to the CEO of Porsche Cars North America.

During Bloomberg’s The Year Ahead: Luxury conference on Nov. 21, Bloomberg Pursuits car columnist Hannah Elliott sat down with the executive to discuss everything from the acceleration of electric vehicles to the marque’s take on brand extension. Porsche has aspirations to grow its brand, with pop-culture partnerships in the works that will raise its profile among a massive audience (see story).

"No matter what, a Porsche is a Porsche," Mr. Joannides said. "And this being the first electric Porsche, it is the most individual Porsche ever."