The Pillocks At Porsche

As you might imagine, I’m on a lot of mailing lists, partly because I’m in the direct response business, and partly because I’m a sucker for anything that costs far more than it should. It was for the latter reason, that I received an email the other day about a new Porsche that’s about to be released.

I’ve reproduced most of the email below, but cut it off at the point where the sending dealership is revealed.  I suspect this is a promotion filtered down from head office, and   the dealer was probably embarrassed enough to be sending it, without me adding to his woes. Anyway, here’s the email…

Dear Mr Harrison

Life, intensified – the new Porsche Macan.

How can you engineer intensity? How do you create it, capture it and instil it in everything you do? At Porsche, it’s a question we ask ourselves constantly, and today we have a new answer.

With the new Macan we’ve not only built a compact SUV, but also the first sports car in its class; a genuine Porsche. From the athletic design and range of powerful engines, to details such as the centrally positioned rev counter and steering wheel inspired by the 918 Spyder, this is our Porsche DNA. Born of a philosophy that has endured through more than 65 years of sports car engineering: in the wind tunnel, on the racetrack, and in our hearts.

The new Macan is a sports car that is practical, yet far from ordinary. That takes us to the heart of the action, and closer to our hearts’ desires. A car that gives us what we’ve always been looking for: the feeling of being truly alive.

If you’re hungry for more, visit to find more detailed information and reports relating to the development of the new Macan. Alternatively, please contact us on…


Imagine the conversation in Porsche head office in Stuttgart on an average Monday morning…

“So did you have ze good veekend Klaus?

“I did indeed Wolfgang, thank you very much for asking…and you?

“Excellent Klaus…excellent. But enough of  ze pleasantries. We must now return to ze question ve are constantly asking ourselves….ze one ve ver wrestling wiz on Friday afternoon, and every day for as long as I can remember. Just how can you engineer intensity? Not only zat Klaus, but how do ve capture it and instil it in everything ve do?”

“I’m buggered if I know, Wolfgang. I still don’t understand ze bloody question. Vi can’t ve just try to make ze cars better like everybody else?

What’s that you say….you can’t imagine that? Well that’s because a conversation like that never took place. In fact never in the history of human endeavour has anyone ever asked the question, ” How can you engineer intensity? How do you create it, capture it and instil it in everything you do?” Not even once, let alone constantly.

It’s just an example of what I’m going to call ‘Advertising Agency Bollocks’…if you’ll pardon my French.

They get away with it for a simple reason – nobody bothers to measure what they do, or compare it with something better.  The cars sell of course because…well they’re excellent cars…and so the people creating ridiculous promotions like this get away with it – their contribution never measured or properly assessed.

You and I don’t have that luxury.  We don’t  have TV shows, newspapers, magazines and thousands of online sources telling the world how great our product is. We don’t have over  half a century of manufacturing and racing heritage. And so for the most part, we stand or fall on the marketing we do today.

When you’re in a hole like that, you don’t open up a promotion with ‘Life Intensified’. Have you ever  felt the need to have your life intensified, by the way? No, me neither.  It’s meaningless arty drivel which does absolutely nothing to move a prospective customer closer to making a purchase. And any advertising or marketing which doesn’t at the very least do that, is money down the drain.

Reckon you’d be reaching for your credit card if you read ‘Life Intensified – A new book from Streetwise Publications’? Didn’t think so!

I’m often asked how to create a successful advertisement, sales letter or promotion. Well the first thing I’d suggest is to avoid copying the ‘big boys’. They have budgets beyond our comprehension, and no way of measuring how effectively they’re spending them You will go broke very quickly, creating the kind of ad’s which Porsche turn out. So what do you do?

Well it’s a huge subject , but for now you could do a lot worse than follow a very simple three step formula  I read once, which has always stuck in my mind.

1. Tell ‘em what you’ve got

2. Tell ‘em what it will do for them

3. Tell ‘em how to get it.

Sounds ridiculously simple I know, but if you start analysing the advertisements and promotions you’re exposed to on a daily basis, you’ll quickly realise that very few of them fulfil even these basic requirements.

All anyone really wants to know is what’s in it for them. How will their life become better by owning or using what you have to sell?   Follow the three step approach, and answer that question convincingly and compellingly, and you will make sales.

You probably won’t get a job writing promotions for Porsche, but you might just make enough money to buy one.


* My latest book ‘Why Didn’t They Tell Me? – 99 Shameless Success Secrets They Don’t Teach You At Eton, Harrow Or Even The Classiest Comprehensive’ is now published. Go to for full details.

24 thoughts on “The Pillocks At Porsche

  1. Peter

    Typical of 99% of advertisements. Total bollocks but it could well win an award from who? Why the advertising industry, of course!!!

  2. David Shillito

    Right On!

    The one word that makes these agencies quake in their boots … Accountability

    Q> What will my Likely ROI be per £ spent? What can we expect as a return on our marketing pound invested with you Mr Agency?
    A> We haven’t a clue, but see, this is about Branding, about ‘front of mind awareness’ and surverys have shown it takes at least 7… blah blah AAAaaaggghhhh!

    I’m with you, and Drayton Bird on this one

    Cheers John

  3. Graham Laurie

    Macan? Wasn’t he Arthur Daleys minder?

    To be fair, Porsche are appealing directly to your emotion. In fact, I think that’s all they are doing here… pushing those buttons that at least make you have a look and then when you get there you’ve already been told how you are supposed to feel.

    They have the budget to go for the long game…

    1. John Harrison Post author

      Agree Graham, but a lot of ‘little guys’ get suckered into thinking that’s how you’re supposed to do it.

  4. kevin

    It is ok tell people a load of fairy stories,If you know your band is a household name.You can get away with it,not so if your an unknown business.

  5. Bob Pendered

    I completely agree with you John —- so much advertising agency drivel that irritates, insults one’s intelligence and goes unchallenged.
    The pseudo-scientific TV ads for shampoos etc particularly infuriate me !

  6. Nick McArdle

    But how did they engineer intensity the old way before they came up they came up with the new way-I think we should be told and could the changes increase car insurance?;-)

  7. Craig Griffiths

    Not sure I want to intensify my life any more than it is just now. Sounds rather stressful. In fact maybe the person who came up with that load of wank was on the crapper with constipation… that about frames it up for me.

    Apart from Johns 3 step formula, I would probably have focused more on specific phrases or descriptive words about the porsche and some features instead.

  8. Gerald Woodgate

    I agree, John. Utter tripe!

    All most agencies seem to be concerned with is winning awards for – ahem – clever advertising.

    Instead of worrying about shifting the products they’re being asked to advertise.

    This is just another example.

  9. Jerry Jones

    I was about to point and laugh and tell you should buy a nice Indian Jag rather than Ze Cherman battle cruiser, and then I remembered that they are launching a compact SUV shortly too.

  10. John Golder

    They are all overpriced German products aimed at people who have a ego problem.
    After 30 years of racing (British cars) and many others I feel qualified to make that judgement.
    Most big company advertising is frequently a mystery to me.
    I think John your simple formulae is quite adequate for most purposes

  11. Paul

    Why don’t they let the marketing department look out of the windows in the mornings?….. Because that would leave them with nothing to do in the afternoons!

    Nice piece John.

  12. Rod Buck

    Yep, John, hit the nail on the head. Ad agencies can only do this sort of drivel because no one measures (like putting an order coupon on the ad) what they do.

    The giant corporations that employ these agencies just throw money at them, thinking that they MUST know what they are doing.. they don’t!

    I love your down-to-earth writings – I try to do the same in my stuff – I do believe that no one wants to deal with an ad agency – they want to deal with a PERSON – and, moreover, a person who ain’t going to bullsh*t them – who tells it like it is!

    Keep it up!

    Rod Buck

  13. Fred Whittaker

    Achtung, Herr Harrison,

    Vi do you vish to mak zer fun of us pillocks at Porsche? Ve haf vays of making you valk (no spare veel in ze new Macan. So zer! Ve do haf ze sense of humour, ya?)

  14. Terry Fennell

    The pillocks that fall for that ad letter will park them at school escape time and then accuse innocent passing drivers of dangerous driving whilst trying to negotiate the mayhem.


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