Shortly after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the brand would “try a little advertising and see how it goes,” during a shareholder meeting at Giga Texas in May 2023, its efforts have started appearing on Google Ads.
A Twitter user posted that 18 ads were running on Google under the Tesla Inc. moniker as of 27 June 2023. The ads appear to promote not just Tesla’s hot-selling EVs like the Model 3 and Model Y, but also its solar panels and the Supercharger network both in the US and the UK.
For a long time, Musk believed that Tesla would rather use its ad budget in making its products better. Given the company’s current market cap of over $800 billion, more than any other carmaker in the world, its business seems to be unaffected by the lack of advertising. Sans ads, its EVs continue selling like crazy. The Model Y was the world's best-selling car of any category in Q1 2023.
Although last year, we saw a shift in Musk’s approach, and he seemed more welcoming toward ads. In an interview, he said that automakers are some of the biggest advertisers for traditional media, which is why they avoid writing critical pieces about them. Recent data from Statista suggests that automakers spent $17 billion on digital advertising in 2022, and are projected to spend a whopping $19 billion in 2023.
The brand started ramping up promotional efforts on its social media handles recently, while its first commercial appeared on Tesla Asia, where it used the interview technique to advertise the Model 3. In the video, a working mother of two emphasises Tesla’s autonomous driving capabilities and safety features.
That said, it’s safe to assume that Tesla will continue being a big part of public discourse surrounding EVs, irrespective of its ads.