Monday 12 July 2010

Luxury Briefing: the Alfa Giulietta website

"Love & Mayhem: the New Alfa Giulietta website", by Alexander Gallé, originally appeared as a column in Luxury Briefing's July 2010 edition.


Love & Mayhem: the new Alfa Giulietta website
by Alexander Gallé

When I first started writing the Luxury Briefing column, a few years ago now, the idea was to call it "Love and Mayhem", focusing my analysis of the luxury sector's online activities on websites that make your heart beat faster.

Just as the best theatre plays display man's struggle with the forces of Eros (Love) and Thanatos (Death), just as Jean-Luc Godard judged that all you need to make a good movie was a girl and a gun, my thinking was that the best experiences - both online and in life itself - are the ones that bring you ample doses of love and mayhem. There can be no doubt about it: the best online experiences are informed by the language of film, and what is luxury about, if not to bring you the best possible experiences?

Alfa Romeo is a brand with a heart. Because of this, it sits in a brand category of its own. If you have any doubts about this, go on YouTube and watch any car review show you can think of. It's all about torque and horsepower and little niggly facts that make the critics compare and contrast different cars against each other, until you get to an Alfa Romeo. Suddenly, the sternest critics are prepared to throw it all away, they forgive the car any possible weaknesses they would normally pounce upon, and talk about love, about heart palpitations, about latin passion and the pleasure of driving careless and free like a leaf in the wind.

The new Giulietta's website presses those very same buttons. Just as there are plenty of sceptics that will tell you the electrics on the dashboard aren't up to standard, there are plenty of web usability analysts that will knock this website because this or that button isn't where the user would expect it. It is perhaps not completely obvious that there are, in fact, two sites (the Everyday Thrills part, and the Alfa Ego part) so that some people who just don't "get Alfa" will probably remain in their tepid state of lust deprivation.

My guess is Alfa is really appealing to all those people who have had a soft spot for the brand over the years, who perhaps always liked the brand but felt a little disappointed that the key Alfa ingredients were somehow missing from their latest models, and who are therefore prepared to spend a little more time over this site to see if the new Giulietta lives up to the heritage.

To those people, even the loading bar looking like a speedline will add something to the experience, even the way the camera tracks into the scudetto will make them want to forward this site to their fellow Alfisti.

So, yes, it'll probably take them a little while longer to find where they can download the technical specs but, by Giove, listen to that engine roaring and purring, look at that jewel of a car floating through that blood red landscape... Doesn't this website make you just want to fall in love with Alfa all over again and book a test drive?

Visit the new Alfa Giulietta site at

Visit the Gallé website at