February 12, 2013
German automaker Porsche is honoring its 5 million Facebook fans by letting them collaborate to design a 911 Carrera 4S vehicle.
Porsche announced that it hit the 5 million fan milestone Jan. 31 by updating its cover image to say “Thank you for 5 million likes.” To celebrate, the automaker has launched an interactive campaign on a Facebook application where fans can vote on the characteristics of a 911 Carrera 4S which it seems that Porsche will produce.
“Porsche's design-a-custom-911 campaign to celebrate 5 million Facebook fans is a brilliant way to encourage and reward its fan base for their loyalty and love of the brand,” said Scott Delea, managing partner at Inflexion Interactive, Hoboken, NJ. “Allowing the community to customize the car makes Porsche feel more approachable while not diminishing its luxury status.
“As Porsche's Facebook fans select the car options they desire, they can't help but dream about customizing their own car, which only increases their desire for the brand,” he said. “Voting takes place almost weekly, so it keeps fans coming back.
“Fans can't help but feel like they are part of a special community.”
Mr. Delea is not affiliated with Porsche, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Porsche did not respond before press deadline.
Votes are in
Porsche is holding the voting for the specifications of the special 911 Carrera 4S model for five weeks. Each week, fans can vote on a different part of the vehicle.
Last week it was decided that the special model would have an Aqua Blue exterior. This color received 31 percent of the votes.
The other choices were from past decades including Aetna Blue from the 1960s, Olympic Blue from the 1970s, Night Blue Metallic from the 1980s, Riviera Blue from the 1990s and Fountain Blue Metallic from the 2000s. Night Blue Metallic received the second-highest amount of votes with 25 percent.
This week, fans can vote for the wheel type. The choices are the 20-inch Carrera S wheel, 20-inch Carrera Classic wheel, 20-inch Sport Design wheel and 20-inch Sport Techno wheel.
Porsche has not yet announced the three additional customization options on which users can vote. There is a countdown to the next voting period on the Facebook app.
The automaker is encouraging consumers to click to the voting app at http://www.porsche.com/5million with posts on its Timeline.
For example, the automaker posted Feb. 11, “The decision has been made, the exterior colour of our special Carrera 4S will be Aquablue Metallic. This week, you can vote for the wheel. Which one is your favourite? Vote now: www.porsche.com/5million.”
Porsche repeatedly acknowledges its social followers, which can only leverage the brand, per Paul Farkas, cofounder/CEO of ULN Ultra Lifestyle Network, New York.
“Porsche loves its fans,” Mr. Farkas said. “It put all Facebook fan names on Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid race car to commemorate 1 million fans and featured fan photos across a special Cayman S at the 2 million.
“This campaign instantly builds off the compound value of the previous, dripping of authority and heritage celebration through a modern medium with its community."
Luxury marketers often use follower milestones as an excuse to engage their social audiences.
For an automaker such as Porsche, a custom model is an effective way to mark the occasion, even if aspirational fans cannot afford to buy the model.
“A crowd-sourced custom 911 Carrera 4S for the next milestone is a great campaign choice,” Mr. Farkas said. “It ties several hot trends, crowd-involvement, actionable advertising, and fan influence.
“In the next two years we will see brands really pinpoint true consumer-fans and those with remarkable loyalty, knowledge and influence will be rewarded with desirable, luxurious and custom gifts,” he said.
“Whether luxury products, services or real-time experiences are given, we are beginning to see real currency flow in the era of the fan influence.”
However, this campaign could be strengthened with a more specific payoff for fans, per Inflexion Interactive’s Mr. Delea.
“In the past, they put the names or images of their fans on the car,” Mr. Delea said. “With this most recent campaign, they don't explain the W.I.I.F.M., or what's in it for me.
“The community customizes the car, but then what? Is someone going to win the car? Will the car be displayed somewhere? Can I win a driving experience? How does my custom car compare with what the community voted for?” he said.
“Maybe Porsche has something in mind, but they haven't told their fans about it yet. If they do, they will get even more traction out of this campaign.”
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York