The Ferrari Portofino.
In late 2017, Ferrari Middle East was at a crossroads. A flat sales performance of the California T, the latest in what had been an iconic and enduring California product line, had allowed competitors to gain coveted ground in the lucrative mid-engine V8 category. Equally, the rise of the SUV product range and falling supercar shipments to the GCC were compromising a once safe bet for the Maranello team.
The only option was to power forward and create a new classic, demonstrating to the region that the latest release in the V8 category, the Portofino, was capable of being the very best.
The Ferrari Portofino was released to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017. It was then immediately rushed to the Dubai Motor Show, to enable the brand to underscore its intention to find a place in the hearts and garages of the loyal GCC client. From here an intensive 12-month campaign was rolled out across all Middle Eastern markets.
We first understood the context and the challenges surrounding the launch:
- The Portofino was introduced at a time when the new car market in the GCC was losing momentum; with 2017 sales figures down 30% year on year, but at a crucial time in the Maranello legacy. Nothing short of excellence would do.
- Consumer confidence and spending power was flailing, especially in the UAE and KSA, two major markets for Ferrari globally and regionally, with the introduction of VAT and falling oil revenues
- The Portofino was also bucking the trend for the SUV, with major car brands such as Bentley, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce releasing products better suited to the desert terrain of the region
- Finally, as we reached the end of 2017, at least ten major print outlets in the GCC had shut. The PR team needed to find new, non-traditional ways to reach and engage audiences.
Our approach was to deliver a world-class regional launch for the Portofino that cements the product family as an iconic V8 for a new breed of ‘Ferrarrista’. We had to create an instinctive emotional connection between the Portofino and the prevalent collective values of specific Middle Eastern markets and support sales of the Portofino across all Middle Eastern markets.