I’d like to say I didn’t see this coming, but I did. Citing Porsche’s long history of racing success, Detlev Von Platen, president of Porsche North America, declined Mini’s offer to go racing at Road Atlanta on Monday, June 21. Specifically, Von Platen responded:
“Imagine our surprise to discover our former employee, now the head of Mini, has challenged us to a head-to-head race. As you surely know, Porsche has a long history of racing success, with more than 28,000 wins over the last 60 years. In our early days, we pitted ourselves against the giants, so we’ve been in your shoes.
But as you also know, Porsche doesn’t race for fame, stunts or publicity. We race to challenge ourselves; we race to push sports car technology; we race to translate every win on the track to our cars on the road.
While your challenge seems like a fun and lighthearted campaign, we’ll stick to racing the way we have over the decades. We welcome you at Sebring, Le Mans, Daytona or any other sanctioned race where there is more at stake than T-shirts and valet parking spaces. We also invite you to any of the thousands of tracks around the world where Porsche owners compete each weekend.
Good luck with your race at Road Atlanta on June 21; we hope you enjoy the day.”
Mr. Von Platen, in the unlikely event that you’re reading this, please let me explain a few things about the American people. First, we always cheer for the underdog, which is why you see so many of us sporting t-shirts to promote Lithuanian basketball, Jamaican bobsledding or any Detroit pro sports team besides the Red Wings. We hate pompous, stuffed-shirt executives, which is why we all exhibited such schadenfreude (bonus points for the German word, I hope) when the Enron crowd went to jail, followed by Bernie Madoff. Above all, we hate it when big corporations blow off the little guy; do you really think BP will survive their little Gulf of Mexico misadventure? If I were you, Mr. Von Platen, I’d be dumping my BP stock quicker that I dropped Porsche’s wholly ineffective ad agency. Really, “Racing. Not Posing.” is the best they can do?
We Americans love a gracious loser, so it’s not too late to correct the PR trainwreck you’ve just begun for Porsche. Call Jim McDowell on the phone and tell him you’ve had a change of heart. Make sure you’re filming it for YouTube, because I personally guarantee it’ll go viral. I’d recommend you wear a t-shirt with the logo, “Are They Really Serious” for your phone call; you can go back to the suit after the call, and it’ll make you look more human. Tell Jim he’s on, but if Porsche wins he has to learn all the words to “Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles”, in German, for his next public appearance. That should give him pause for concern.
In life, Mr. Von Platen, we win some and we lose some. Sadly, you’d already lost this one before you even replied to Mr. McDowell. Still, it’s not too late to minimize the damage and present Porsche in a good light. You’ll still lose, regardless of the outcome, but at least you’ll lose with class. Isn’t that worth something?
Source: Porsche, via Jalopnik