Posted by Abe Sauer on November 24, 2011 02:05 PM
There are brand extensions and then there are brand extensions.
Porsche, the official sponsor of midlife crises everywhere, is now ready to move its lifestyle brand from the curb all the way upstairs to the couch. In partnership with a property developer, the Porsche Design Group is constructing a 57-story tower on South Florida's exclusive Sunny Isles Beach resort. Residents will soon be able to go from their 911 to the 11th floor without ever leaving the Porsche lifestyle — or their car, for that matter.
But while a one-off building may be a PR boon for the brand, like a car show concept vehicle that will never be made, are a large number of consumers ready to buy, or live in, a Porsche?
The $650 million Porsche building in Miami, a collaboration with Manhattan's Dezer Properties, will house 132 apartment units complemented by 284 "robotic" parking spaces.
That robotic parking functionality is the core "Whoa!" selling point of Porsche Design's design. From The Miami Herald, here is how it works: "After the resident pulls over and switches off the engine, a robotic arm that works much like an automatic plank will scoop up the car and put it into the elevator. Once at the desired floor, the same robotic arm will park the car, leaving the resident nearly in front of his front door. Voila, home!"
Voila, indeed. The potential pricetag to be able to ride in your Porsche to your Porsche pad is a cool $9 million. There is no stipulation so far that the robotic apartment parking attendants will only service Porsches.
The Porsche brand is not beyond stunt extensions. Last year, Porsche teamed with high-end London retailer Harrods to unveil a one million dollar advent calendar. The daily surprises included a lambskin jacket, a limited edition chronograph watch, gold sunglasses, and, no joke, an eight-meter yacht.
But Porsche Design's brand extensions are also more than one-offs. The unit is responsible for a long line of timepieces, luggage, eyewear, kitchen utensils and sportswear. All high end yet realistic consumer products with realistic, if equally high, prices.
It's easy to make a guess about just which of the two categories Porsche's building project fits into. One thing is for sure, it's a long way from the brand's recent "Everyday" image campaign.