Tesla has never spent money on classic advertising. Nevertheless, the vehicles of the US electric car manufacturer are among the best-selling in the world. But what is behind Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s anti-marketing stance? The background.
When Elon Musk recently considered running TV commercials for Tesla, the surprise was great. Actually, Tesla has been doing without classic advertising for years. The company prefers to save millions of US dollars in this area in order to invest the money in improving its products.
And this strategy seems to be working, because even without advertising, Tesla was one of the ten car manufacturers that sold the most vehicles worldwide in 2021. By the end of 2022, one of the Tesla models could even make it into the top five.
Meanwhile, the e-car maker has sold 500,000 vehicles so far. But how does Tesla manage to be so successful without classic advertising?
That’s why Tesla doesn’t spend any money on advertising
The simple answer: Tesla obviously doesn’t need it. Because as the marketing trade magazine Absatzwirtschaft reported some time ago, CEO Elon Musk himself is regarded as a kind of walking advertising campaign.
Elon Musk is considered a cult figure and thus provides Tesla advertising
He is now even considered a cult figure. His statements, appearances and actions polarise to such an extent that the Tesla brand is also constantly being talked about.
As Business Insider also reports, Tesla also scored points as a brand at the beginning of the pandemic when engineers from the company used car parts from Tesla to produce respirators.
Musk’s presentation at Paris’ Sorbonne University in 2015 was similarly positive, when the billionaire called for a carbon tax to stop global warming. With such actions, Musk won the approval of young people in particular.
Twitter as the main medium of communication
Musk’s behaviour on Twitter is probably the best example of this. Hardly a day goes by without him sending out a tweet. Even before the billionaire took over the micro-blogging service, he used the platform as his main communication medium – not least for his various companies.
While he had about 38 million followers in 2020, he now has almost 120 million. He also continuously spreads his advertising messages on Twitter.
According to Wirtschaftswoche, people jump on it mainly because they want more proximity to company bosses and their views overall. Musk’s continuing flood of tweets seems to confirm this theory.
Tesla advertising by word of mouth
While Elon Musk focuses on Twitter, Tesla also benefits from a huge fan base and their word-of-mouth. This is because supporters of the e-cars enthusiastically declare their love for the brand.
And even if Tesla doesn’t produce its own commercials, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Teslawissen magazine, for example, has published a list of videos that fans have produced and posted on YouTube.
In 2017, Elon Musk even launched a competition for Tesla commercials with “Project Loveday”. This encouraged many fans to implement their own ideas.
Tesla invests in research and development
Last but not least, according to the e-car magazine Insideevs, Tesla benefits from Elon Musk’s strategy of not spending money on classic advertising measures. Instead, the e-car company prefers to invest in the research and development of its products.
The vehicles are constantly being further developed. The company continuously updates the hardware, software, battery technology and features of its cars. Tesla can also adjust its prices immediately depending on the economic situation and product development.
The US company spends more than any other carmaker on research and development to maintain its lead in EV technology. This is the key to keeping customers happy and Tesla in business.
Elon Musk’s companies support each other
Musk also pulled off a marketing coup when he sent the Tesla Roadstar into space on a SpaceX rocket to the music of David Bowie.
The Boring Company, founded by Musk, also indirectly supports the Tesla brand. This is because the tunnel construction company is supposed to relieve the highways and develop a road network of the future. The company earns the necessary small change for this with the sale of baseball caps and flamethrowers, among other things.
Elon Musk could change his strategy for Tesla advertising in future
Although Elon Musk mouthed the word TV commercial in connection with Tesla, according to his own statements, the topic is not a priority for the billionaire for now. So it will be a while before we stumble across an ad for Tesla in the newspaper or on TV – if it even gets that far.