Recently, a promotional video posted by Tesla Asia on Twitter created a stir in the media, with several outlets reporting it as Tesla’s first “commercial”. This claim appears to have stemmed from the timing of the video’s release, which closely followed an announcement by Tesla CEO Elon Musk that the company would “try a little advertising”.
Contrary to these reports, however, the video in question is not actually a commercial. Instead, it forms part of Tesla’s long-running “Drive to Believe” program, which has been featuring the experiences of real Tesla owners through promotional videos for the past years.
It’s important to note that Tesla’s traditional approach to promotion has been somewhat unconventional, focusing more on improving its products and relying on owners to spread the word rather than on conventional advertising. The videos produced under the “Drive to Believe” program do not conform to a traditional ad format, and Tesla does not pay for their airtime, which further underlines that they are not commercials.
Musk’s recent comments about Tesla trying out advertising seem to refer to a shift towards more conventional forms of promotion, involving ads that will receive paid airtime on TV or the internet. But it’s clear that this new promotional video from Tesla Asia does not represent that shift just yet.
This misunderstanding underscores the importance of distinguishing between different forms of promotional content. While Tesla has indeed been producing marketing material for a long time, its venture into conventional advertising as we traditionally understand it has yet to begin in earnest.