This may be a sweeping generalisation and something of a stereotype but, based on my market research of one, petrol heads often aren’t particularly keen on Christmas shopping. What better time and place then to pop-up a Porsche Life brand experience store in Oxford’s Westgate shopping mall for Christmas retail period.
Last weekend Porsche GB opened the store amongst the designer clothing and luxury brands on the lower ground level of Oxford’s newest shopping centre. As Oxfordshire doesn’t have a Porsche main dealership anywhere in the county, this pop-up store is a great way of bringing the brand to the people.
You won’t, however, be able to buy any cars here and although it does sell Porsche branded merchandise, it’s a small high-quality selection and shouldn’t be compared to the gratuitous application of a certain prancing horse in another automotive brand store network.
The main purpose of Porsche Life is to allow people to experience the brand as it celebrates its 70th anniversary and to see, feel and hear what Porsche have to offer. Their racing pedigree, for example, is represented by a Le Mans 919 hybrid replica with a suited but curiously un-booted driver mannequin alongside.
There is a Sound of Porsche installation where you can listen to a rather realistic 911 revving up or explore a library of video clips by placing different vinyl records onto a digitally enabled “turntable”. The blending of digital and analog technologies doesn’t stop there, a small model of the Mission E concept all in white can be brought to life through the use an augmented reality mobile app while in other areas a gesture controlled TV offers more brand films to watch and a tablet allows you to create and print Porsche inspired digital art postcards.
Towards the rear there is a small library area and finally an actual car – a £140k+ Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo (trips off the tongue nicely doesn’t it) to climb into and look around. There are other current Porsche models on show in the centre’s car park including some that can be hired for between 4 and 24 hours. The Racing Yellow 718 Cayman in particular stood out well in the underground gloom.
With opening times to match the neighbouring stores, the Porsche Life experience will be offering sanctuary to the gift-laden and shop-weary throughout the festive shopping period until early January.