PORCHE PLUGS UPCOMING SUV ONLINE

Automaker's First Web Pre-launch Effort

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Porsche Cars North America, Atlanta, is mining for prospects on the Web in the marketer's first online pre-launch effort.

Porsche's new microsite, porschecayenne.com, went live last month. It lets consumers sign up for periodic e-mails about the Cayenne sport utility vehicle, due in the second half of 2002.

Interpublic Group of Cos.' Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, created print ads for Decemeber car-buff books directing readers to the site. Porsche's online ads on car sites, including carpoint.com and edmunds.com, broke in late November.

Late player
Porsche is

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late to the luxury SUV segment and will mainly compete with BMW of North America and Mercedes-Benz USA. Porsche expects to sell 25,000 of its German-made SUVs annually, with roughly 70% exported, said Kevin Nicholls, marketing communications manager.

North America is Porsche's biggest global market, accounting for nearly half its car sales.

Roughly 40% of Porsche owners currently have an SUV in their garages, so current owners are key prospects, Mr. Nicholls said.

Porsche will study the cost-per-consumer leads across various media.

Catalano Lellos & Silverstein, New York, hired by Porsche in October for online media strategy, planning and buying, will assist in those efforts.

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