LEGO and Porsche: the art of selling desire
How the new LEGO 911 model has revived classic Porsche ads
LEGO Porsche 911 Targa rear three-quarters view
The 1960s to 1980s were a golden age for print advertising – including Porsche. With LEGO recreating a number of standout Porsche ads from yesteryear for its new LEGO 911 model, we shine a light on their original incarnations
Building for tomorrowCall it creative recycling. When LEGO and Porsche were deciding on the finishing touches around the new LEGO Creator Expert Porsche 911 model, it came up with an idea that smartly borrows from the past to help further bring it to life. If they are quick off the mark, members of the LEGO VIP loyalty programme who buy this beautifully detailed LEGO Porsche model also receive an owners club pack that includes LEGO recreations of memorable Porsche print ads of the past.The LEGO Porsche 911 kit gives you the option to build a 930 Turbo or Targa – you choose which one to embark on – with the Turbo featuring the ground-breaking ‘whale tail’ rear wing and the Targa’s iconic roll bar. The 1,458-brick kit includes elements, like the curved rear arches of the Turbo, that have been specially developed for the model. And this kind of attention to detail extends to those lovingly recreated ads, which transpose the LEGO models into retro settings. As we are about to discover, the 20-year period spanning the mid-1960s to mid-1980s didn’t just give birth to classic Porsche cars but great Porsche ads too. 1967: Love is in the air
1967 Porsche 911 Targa ad alongside LEGO 930 Turbo version
Selling the Targa dream: the LEGO take on a classic 1967 911 ad
It’s 1967. The year of the Summer of Love. A time when, little more than two decades after the biggest global conflict in the history of our civilisation, first America and then the world was consumed by a newfound confidence and hope for a brighter future. Where art and culture in all its forms underwent a dramatic recalibration. Of peace, love and having fun. If you consider advertising, as many do, as a branch of art, then is it any wonder that this was reflected in its output? Putting aside a spot of artistic license on display for the LEGO Porsche model ad here – the original ad features a 1967 911 Targa, not the 911 (930) model version you can construct – this is nothing less than a slice of Pop Art. Bright hues. Simplicity of composition. This was an age where advertising, including that of Porsche, made the transition from restraint to youthful positivity.1977: An age of extremes
LEGO 911 Turbo (930) recreated ad next to original version
Ex factor: Porsche in 1977 took a bold approach with this 911 Turbo advert
In 1977, the 911 Turbo had been on sale for little more than a year but was already proving to be a hit. This was especially true in the US, which had recovered more quickly than most following the crippling recession and oil crisis of 1973-74. At the time, Porsche was having to compete with the overtly macho approach that many US manufacturers, with their mighty V8-engined beasts, were adopting. The response? To pitch the Turbo as something akin to a pin-up, one that would adorn the walls of schoolkids from Seattle to Stuttgart and beyond. This car was European, it was exotic… and, as this ad boldly states, exclusive, explosive and expensive too. As another contemporary 911 Turbo ad stated at the time, “Frill, ornament and ostentation are not found in Porsche’s vocabulary.” It’s a phrase you could easily attribute to this ad itself.1985: Show, don’t tell
LEGO 911 Turbo (930) next to original Porsche ad
Minimal approach, maximum gains: in advertising, less is often more
By the time we reached the hump of the 1980s, the world was on the cusp of another boom time. This ad from 1985 couldn’t be simpler, proclaiming with a thinly disguised knowing wink, it is ‘ohne Worte' – 'without words’. Acclaimed US advertising executive, Leo Burnett, once said: “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at.” This ad and its LEGO Porsche model counterpart are certainly that. By now, a decade after its launch, the 911 Turbo had established itself as one of the great sports cars. Minimal in the extreme, this was an ad of considerable audacity that reflected the confidence that Porsche had in the car. Without words, yes. But saying plenty.
Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at
Leo Burnett | Legendary American advertising executive
1985: Clarity of thought
LEGO Porsche 911 Turbo (930) ‘fog’ ad juxtaposed with original
Clear thinking: the best advertising triggers an emotional response
In contrast to their colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic, Porsche Deutschland took a more pragmatic approach when it came to advertising the 911 Turbo in this 1986 example. It’s a reflection that, in Europe at least, consumer trust was still plateauing after the economic slump of the early 1980s. Still, there’s considerable confidence on show here. You’re presented with little more than the outline of the car, which suggests this is a shape so instantly recognisable that no introduction is necessary. There’s no headline as such either, just a dense slab of text that extols the virtues of balancing driving pleasure with “active and passive safety” measures. It might be foggy out there, but here’s a Porsche ad that cuts through it with courage and clarity. Which, when you think about it, feels like an apt summary of the past 50-plus years of Porsche advertising.
LEGO Porsche 911 Turbo (930) ‘fog’ ad juxtaposed with original
The recreations of the classic ads are part of a limited-edition Lego Porsche owners club pack
LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group. © 2021 The LEGO Group
Consumption and emission information 911 Turbo (WLTP): Fuel consumption combined: 12,3 - 12,0 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 279 - 271 g/km; CO₂ class: G. 911 Turbo S (WLTP): Fuel consumption combined: 12,3 - 12,0 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 278 - 271 g/km; CO₂ class: G. 911 Turbo Cabriolet (WLTP): Fuel consumption combined: 12,5 - 12,1 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 284 - 275 g/km; CO₂ class: G. 911 Turbo S Cabriolet (WLTP): Fuel consumption combined: 12,5 - 12,1 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 284 - 275 g/km; CO₂ class: G.
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