Porsche: The Cayenne Launch

Posted: 14 Mar 2012

See all articles by John Deighton

John Deighton

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit

Jill Avery

Harvard Business School

Jeffrey Fear

Dept. of Business Administration

Date Written: March 29, 2011


Can an online discussion forum supply insight into the evolution of brand meaning? In 2003 Porsche launched a sport utility vehicle, dividing Porsche purists from newcomers to the brand. Vocal members of online and offline Porsche communities ridiculed the Cayenne SUV and disapproved of the new breed of driver. Some opposed offering Porsche Club membership to them, and some even refused to extend the fraternal Porsche "wave" or headlight flashing to them on the road. Porsche's values of speed, luxury, and a certain masculine zeal resonated strongly with its devotees, while drivers of the Cayenne (which came to be known as "the SUV for soccer moms") tended to be safety-conscious, family-oriented, and conservative. Evolving debates on forums allow a class to debate whether the brand had strayed too far from its core values and was at risk.

Learning Objective: To facilitate understanding of the uses and limitations of online forums as a source of consumer insight.

Suggested Citation

Deighton, John and Avery, Jill J. and Fear, Jeffrey, Porsche: The Cayenne Launch (March 29, 2011). Harvard Business School Marketing Unit Case No. 511-068, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2021456

John Deighton (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Jill J. Avery

Harvard Business School ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States
6174958084 (Phone)

Jeffrey Fear

Dept. of Business Administration ( email )

Redlands, CA
United States

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