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Porsche targets “The Man Who Thinks He Can” in new video

German automaker Porsche is bringing poetry to the tracks in an effort to showcase its vehicles’ desirability and potential.

The brand has posted to YouTube and shared on social media a dramatic video starring actor and auto racer Patrick Dempsey glorifying Porsche motosport. The dramatic video and prominence of a celebrity will help make Porsche a coveted option for affluent consumers.

It’s all in the state of mind
The video contains a reading of “Thinking,” sometimes he referred to as “The Man Who Thinks He Can,” a poem written in the early 20th century by Walter D. Wintle, of whom little else is known. The poem is motivational, beginning “If you think you are beaten, you are” and ending, “sooner or later the man who wins/is the man who thinks he can.”

The video is shot in black and white and consists largely of close-ups and slow-motion shots, both of which add drama. There are shots of cars speeding down the track, the agonizing mix of stress and anticipation from Mr. Dempsey and a few shots using tricks such as time lapse, motion blurring or superimpositions to deliberate effect.

Images of Mr. Dempsey’s race are intercut with the preparation for it, creating tension and drama by prolonging the race itself. In the end, Mr. Dempsey speeds into the finish line ahead of competitors.

Although Mr. Dempsey is best known for his role on “Grey’s Anatomy” as “McDreamy,” he is also an accomplished auto racer. Tapping a celebrity with both widespread popularity and a track record at the races grants Porsche the desirability associated with celebrities without sacrificing authenticity.

porsche driving track 1
Porsche driving track

The use of the poem and the lofty visuals also work to create a powerful, somewhat enigmatic aura around Porsche. Luxury automakers have long been attuned to desire-based marketing, trying to convince the consumer to pick one brand over the others, as opposed to repeatedly pushing a product to the consumer, and Porsche’s video fits in with this trend.

Changing gears
Porsche’s overarching theme of the best coming from within, as exemplified by the poem, is emerging as a key marketing point. Once again, empowering the consumer allows her to choose the brand where high-pressure sales tactics or overt product pushes may alienate her.

In another promotion, a new commercial for its 2017 911, Porsche proved that only the best has a chance at beating the best.

The spot, titled “Compete,” shows some of the greatest competitors, including Maria Sharapova and Muhammad Ali, pitted against themselves. This effort communicates a drive for perfection and positions Porsche as being in a class of its own (see story).

Beforehand, Porsche’s focus was on tying its heritage into hybrid and electric vehicles, which may initially have seemed incompatible with the sports car and autoracing components of the brand.

German automaker Porsche is turning the page in its history with the first electric vehicle in its fleet.

The Mission E, which debuted as a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show will be 100 percent electrically powered and will launch at the end of the decade. Environmental concerns are growing among consumers, and the Mission E is Porsche’s first step in blending its heritage with contemporary concerns (see story).