Elon Musk talked about the advantages of Tesla ads in an interview with Tesla supporters, including the President of Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, the President of My Tesla Adventure, and the Kilowatts founder.
Musk noted that public support for Tesla is appreciated, and the Tesla community’s efforts to shoot down FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) for the company have also been helpful. Musk has opposed the idea of Tesla ads in the past. However, during the interview, he acknowledged that Tesla ads might have some advantages.
“There’s an argument for maybe we should advertise because the traditional media will not run negative pieces about automotive. Because automotive is like one of the biggest—if not the biggest—advertisers in their paper,” Musk said.
“So Tesla is basically free game [for traditional media]. Whereas, its safe to say that if they run some negative piece about General Motors right next to a General Motors ad, a General Motors marketing executive would call them and say,’ um—why did you do that?’” Musk added.
Statista calculated that the automotive industry in the United States spent $12.42 billion on digital advertising in 2020. A 10-Q SEC filing in 2021 revealed that Tesla spends drastically more on Research and Development for its vehicles than advertising.
Despite the advantages of ads, Tesla has been doing well without them. During Super Bowl LVI, Tesla did not run a single TV advertisement. A slot during the Bengals vs. Rams game had a hefty price tag of $6.5 million for 30-seconds of air time. Tesla revealed that it saw an increase in order volume the day after the Super Bowl, even though it did not run any ads.
Elon Musk has considered the possibility of Tesla investing in ads, but more informational ones. Tesla ads focusing on information about its cars and features would help customers, and potential buyers better understand the company’s products.