Why Tesla Doesn’t Advertise – And Why That Might Need To Change
Most luxury car brands advertise heavily, buying prime media placement for billboards, TV spots, magazine spreads, and more. However, Tesla prefers to go off the beaten path—including with their marketing strategy. Read on for the reasoning behind Tesla’s advertising—or lack thereof—and our thoughts on why they might need to rethink it, soon.
Tesla has never ran a paid campaign
Instead, the brand relies on word-of-mouth (aka, free) advertising generated by their cars’ reputation as well as occasional stunts. As far as organic buzz goes, Tesla is undeniably killing the game—they have the strongest organic social media engagement among car brands, despite spending literally $0 on social campaigns. And Elon Musk himself—wacky Tweets included—is practically a walking advertisement for Tesla. Musk’s personal brand is almost inseparable from Tesla, so it definitely helps the brand to have such a prolific CEO.
Musk himself gave his 2 cents on Tesla’s advertising (or lack thereof) on Twitter… where else?
Tesla does not advertise or pay for endorsements. Instead, we use that money to make the product great. https://t.co/SsrfOq1Xyc
— Buff Mage (@elonmusk) May 19, 2019
It’s a fair argument, and one that other brands have certainly made before. However, as the brand and the marketplace has evolved it might be time for Tesla to reconsider.
Word-of-mouth just isn’t cutting it
Going against Musk’s argument against advertising—there’s no reason why Tesla can’t continue to invest in building quality machines, while also growing its own brand. Similar auto brands tend to make back the money that they invest in advertising campaigns—and then some! But without paid advertising, it’s hard to grow and maintain a brand without substantial organic buzz.
Word-of-mouth alone may have worked for Tesla in the past. But Tesla’s anti-advertising strategy hasn’t been treating them well lately—the brand saw a 31% drop in sales during the first quarter of 2019. That’s the biggest quarterly drop in sales in the history of the brand. And Tesla isn’t the only electric car company to pay attention to any more—other brands are starting to produce electric cars, with the advertising budgets to back them up.
A lot to offer
When it comes to advertising, Tesla has so much wasted potential. Among the onslaught of boring, repetitive car ads, Tesla has a chance to stand out with their unique brand voice—and unique benefits. How many other cars let you prank your friends with a “fart button”? In addition to bringing in sales, advertising could be a way for Tesla to further develop their brand voice.
A common theme among brands that don’t advertise is that they seem to view advertising as a weakness—it’s a point of pride to be a brand that “doesn’t need to advertise”. However, these brands should realize what they can gain by introducing advertising campaigns into their marketing mix. Advertising is not only a way to increase short-term revenue, it’s a way to further develop your brand and increase recognition for the long-term.
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