The automotive industry knows more than most about the power of advertising, and it also spends more than most on media to influence consumers.

As such it’s probably no surprise that the industry is ahead of the curve when it comes to making the most of earned media through social channels. 

I was intending to compile a post full of relevant examples from various car manufacturers, but Porsche deserves a dedicated post, as - despite not allowing employees to use social media platforms in the workplace – it is doing some tremendous things in this space.

Porsche says ‘Thank You’ to 1m Facebook fans

It could have posted a simple status update, but instead Porsche decided to add the names of 1m of its Facebook fans onto a brand new 911 GT3 R Hybrid, it’s finest car, which will be displayed in the Porsche Museum. 

If you’re a fan you can search for your name via a dedicated microsite. This is a fine example of ‘giving a bit back’ to fans, and has a definite feelgood factor. Amazing.

Porsche ColorStyler

We featured Porsche’s ColorStyler in our recent best practice guide on How To Create Facebook Pages, and it’s a great example of a custom Facebook app that people love to play with.

The ColorStyler app lives on its Facebook page and is part of the reason why it has amassed more than 1.3m fans. Both interactive and simple, it allows you to select your favourite model of Porsche, choose a colour preference for the body and wheels, and then display a picture of your dream car onto your homepage.

Being a master of understatement and blending into the background, I'd rather like one of these...

Porsche ColorStyler Facebook app

Porsche Family Tree

This is another Facebook app that invites Porsche owners to share their own stories and pictures of their cars, both old and new. Almost 4,000 people have contributed to the Family Tree. UGC FTW.

Porsche Family Tree on Facebook

Porsche Spotting Game on Foursquare

This game popped up on Foursquare earlier this month to coincide with a Steelers vs Packers event. 

Porsche “turned the state of Dallas into a playing field” and invited Foursquare users to create a real-time online photo gallery, by taking snapshots of Porsches and mapping them to a location. Images will be added to the company’s Facebook photos.

A neat example of location-based marketing.

Making the most of YouTube 

Porsche has added almost 300 videos to its YouTube channel since creating an official channel in late-2008. It is closing in on 10m video views, has 22,000 subscribers, and more than 932,000 people have viewed its YouTube channel page.

Using the Facebook Wall to share exclusive content

Porsche’s Facebook Wall has become its main consumer communications channel, and a very effective one at that. 

Yesterday it uploaded a ‘World Premiere’ video of the new Panamera to YouTube and shared it with fans, resulting in more than 27,000 video views, around 5,200 ‘likes’ and 335 comments. 

Twitter competitions and cross-promotion

Of all the major social media channels that Porsche uses, Twitter appears to be the least developed, with the @porsche account springing into (official) life last summer. 

Nevertheless, it appears to post multiple status updates every day and does a good line in cross-promoting its USA shop, which has a dedicated account that is in the habit of running competitions and giveaways. 

Expect its 8,500 followers to grow substantially in the months and years to come.

Chris Lake

Published 17 February, 2011 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (13)

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How is writing your name on a car in tiny writing "giving something back"!

Giving something back would be getting to tear up the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in the new GT3!

over 7 years ago

Stephen Dyson

Stephen Dyson, Marketing Manager at HMG Paints

Haha John, its the idea of being included, similar to the way Manchester City incorporated season ticket holders names into the tunnel and onto the spirals that lead up to the stadium.

Porsche have done some great work and 1 million facebook 'friends' is a great achievement. Also think the youtube channel is a great idea and gives customers a good glimpse at the company.

over 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@John - You're absolutely right! I've been training for Nürburgring-Nordschleife via PGR4 for the past three years so let's cross our fingers for some serious goodwill when it hits the 2m mark ; )

over 7 years ago


Steve Davies

Chris, what Porsche have done with the ‘Thank You’ to 1,000,000 FB fans campaign is to be applauded and has been well reasonably well received in the main Porsche communities outside FB. However Porsche are quite new to this digital media game, up until a few years ago the main marketing decision makers in Stuttgart paid little attention to online, preferring instead to use print and outdoor as the main channels for their brand.

Whilst this latest social media ‘Thank You’ campaign joins other successful forays such as ‘Family Tree’ which you mentioned and ‘Bloodlines’ which preceded it, there is still much to do before they could be considered as “winning the social media game”.

We review every major automotive campaign on a weekly basis and rate the continuity of social media engagement, rather than the more intermittent project based campaigns. In that respect the clear market leader is Ford led by Scott Monty, who have transformed their relationship with customers globally using campaigns which put their customers at the forefront, creating heroes and memorable event based online programs which have achieved huge levels of reach. They partnered with the viral-video king, Ken Block in launching the Fiesta to the US market and Ken’s Gymkhana 3 videos have now topped 30 million views in just 5 months.

The other big winners in social media are MINI and Toyota. MINI are a great example in the context of Porsche. Just google the search term ‘MINI vs Porsche’ and you’ll discover the 5 videos which capture the story. In a nutshell, MINI USA’s CEO challenged Porsche’s CEO to a race on Facebook sending a video inviting him to choose his best driver and compete against a MINI Cooper S around a track at the famous Road Atlanta track in the US. Fans were invited to Like MINI’s promotional FB page and then join the event last June. Fans signed up in their hundreds of thousands and well over 1 million people watched the videos online. Porsche said no, were wrong-footed, mis-judged the interest of car enthusiasts and looked out of touch and foolish, MINI delighted their fans and successfully transferred the online FB campaign into an offline event, with thousands of owners driving to the event in a show of support.

Let’s give Porsche credit for the improvements they are making to their social media engagement, but they are far from being ‘winners’(yet) or the best in the sector.

over 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Steve - thanks for the insight. I should have been a bit clearer with the headline as I wasn't intending on facing off Porsche against other automotive firms, only trying to point out that some of the things it is doing are excellent.

Scott at Ford (and Ford's work) is definitely on our radar and will be featured in due course, along with some of the others.

I continue to associate MINI with those annoying pop-ups that it used to buy in bulk, but I'll check out what it is up to.

Toyota obviously has a few product issues so is a particularly interesting manufacturer to look at.

Overall I think the automotive industry is investing and innovating in this space, and with a relatively sexy product, scale and some great content, it's a no brainer for these firms to make the most of social channels.

Anyway, thanks for all of your pointers - I'll work my way through them.

over 7 years ago



very nice I like it thank you for your sharing

over 7 years ago

Steve Richards

Steve Richards, MD at Yomego

Thanks for this, Chris. Porsche only 10th most popular car brand on the recent 'Top 50 Brands in Social list' but they are catching rivals and some more bold moves here that will help them to further close the gap

over 7 years ago


Ulrike Gerloff

There is one thing about putting FBfans names on a Porsche: advertisers know, that selling is all about emotions. Nobody "needs" to have a Porsche for simply driving from A to B. Why buying a Porsche? Because of the image giving the driver a certain personal status, self-confidence, the feeling of being more than others, of joining a special group of car drivers and an upper social group. It´s the feeling of freedom and importance and so on. And that it is, what Porsche gives "back" to its friends with their names on a car: they feel privileged, important, chosen or what ever. It speaks to the ego. That is a much stronger feeling in perception of fans than goodwill for a community. The message and the media have to match the market (peergroup). May be hard to swallow for "NON-Porsches", but that is not the point for Porsche ;-)

over 7 years ago


Andrew Marshall, SEM Manager at s1

@Steve That is some impressive insight - hopefully talk to you in the future!

over 7 years ago



So, they used Hondas 'earth car' concept from 2007.

over 7 years ago


Ritch Brandon


As an avid automotive industry enthusiast and social media marketer, I love to see the commitment of auto brands to cutting edge technology. It seems the industry "gets it" when it comes to social media.

I recently attended a conference where Sam de la Garza, Ford's Fiesta Product Marketing Manager, was on the panel. Ford, too, has FULLY embraced social media as an important element of their marketing efforts.

Another early adopter is Audi. Check out their QR code stunt at if you haven't seen it.


over 7 years ago


Aaron Eden

The Porsche brand is sizzling hot and the way they engage people in social media makes them hotter. I think that not only the enthusiasts will have a blast, but those who are curious as well. Let's see if they can keep the energy up..

over 7 years ago



Is there any chance the sessions at the event will be recorded - its fully booked :(

almost 7 years ago

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