Its stuffy, upper-class image is so ingrained in our culture that Kraft Foods’ Grey Poupon mustard has been dragging out its pompous Rolls-Royce passenger since the 1980s to ask innocent passersby if they happen to have any of the good stuff.
And while the website for Rolls-Royce does spend most of its pages portraying the brand as being a product for the most upper-crust and demanding customers, the site is also subtly working to show a few other sides of itself, such as how much Rolls is doing to keep the environment clean. It seems that in the current tough financial era for the car industry (and everybody else), such a high-priced item needs to appeal to all sorts of buyers and not just target the picky, extremely wealthy.
One of the most interesting elements of the brand is that it was purchased by the German company BMW in 1998 after having English owners since its inception. However, manufacturing remains for the most part at Goodwood on the southern coast of England, just across from the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit. There is an incentive for the company to present itself as being as English and high-end as possible. That British image is integral to the brand and was thought to be a source of pride for British residents for some time.
In 1967, for example, there was an attack on John Lennon’s recently painted psychedelic Rolls by an elderly woman in the streets of London. She supposedly banged the car, which was covered with painted swirls and flowers, with her umbrella and screamed, “You swine, you swine! How dare you do this to a Rolls-Royce.” The English image is kept up on the site with an area devoted to Goodwood and no obvious references to BMW.
The bulk of the site, which primarily uses muted gray lettering on stark black or white backgrounds, is dedicated to the cars themselves. Each contemporary Rolls-Royce gets a full-blown breakdown of interior, exterior, colors and trims, specifications, and dealers that have the car. Many images and videos populate this area as well as plenty of text to answer any question you could have on the vehicles themselves. This area in particular really helps the brand reach out to the many aspirational buyers who are becoming more and more a part of the car’s target market. Rolls-Royce is apparently becoming less of a brand that signifies high nobility and more of one that is about showing wealth off to others.
The most fascinating section of the site, titled “Creation,” shows how a Rolls-Royce is put together, breaking the construction down into 14 steps and featuring images and videos at many of them. The text goes out of its way, of course, to build up the “hand-built craftsmanship,” the “ingenious double-deck floor” the “best, A-grade quality” leather from a particular herd in Bavaria, and so on. There is such an abundance of self-loving adjectives here that it helps perpetuate the concept that the creation of each and every Rolls-Royce is somehow holy in its own way.