Tesla, a company that has long shunned conventional advertising, is going to “try out” the plan, CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday at the automaker’s 2023 annual shareholders’ meeting.
Tesla doesn’t pay for traditional advertising like other automakers. And that was not really necessary. The company has become incredibly popular through other marketing methods such as emails, referral programs that incentivize existing owners to attract customers, and of course Musk’s many tweets.
Tesla has even turned to its loyal customers for homemade advertising. In 2017, after a Tesla trailer posted a letter on Twitter that his young daughter wrote suggesting that the company hold an ad competition, Musk agreed with the idea. Named Project Loveday after the 10-year-old girl, the contest named YouTuber and tech reviewer Marques Brownlee as the winner.
Back in 2010, Advertising Age fourth Tesla as one of “America’s hottest brands” due to Tesla’s reliance on the quality of its product and word of mouth from early customers to elevate the company to what is now an iconic position as an electric vehicle automaker and technology innovator.
“Our owners become our ambassadors,” Musk told Advertising Age at the time.
Now Musk seems willing to change that mindset as the company looks to promote new car features and advertise the affordability of its vehicles.
“We’ll do a little bit of advertising and see how it goes,” Musk said Tuesday in response to a question from Kevin Paffrath, also known as Meet Kevin, a Youtuber and financial analyst whose ETF ticker, PPcounts Tesla as its largest position.
Paffrath noted that Tesla could advertise features such as over-the-air updates that improve airbag deployment, or disprove the common belief that Teslas are “super expensive” when in reality “the starting price for Tesla is lower than the average car price in the U.S. “.
Musk agreed, noting that his experience as CEO of Twitter, a company that relies heavily on advertising, has shown him that “advertising is great and everyone should be doing it.”
“I think I kind of hear your bigger point, which is that there are great features and functionality about Teslas that people just don’t know about, and while there are obviously a lot of people who follow the Tesla account and my account… preaching to the choir, and the choir is already convinced.”
What is unclear is what a Tesla advertising campaign might look like. If history offers any guidance, Musk will turn to one of his other companies for a resource. (Musk companies like The Boring Company, SpaceX, and Tesla are known to share resources). In this case, Musk can turn to Twitter to launch the first Tesla ads.