No, this is not Tesla’s first commercial

Several media outlets report that Tesla released its first “commercial” after Elon Musk said the company would “try a little advertising.”

It’s false. The video in question is just part of a long-running series of promotional videos at Tesla.

Last week, CEO Elon Musk announced a reversal of his long-standing strategy that Tesla doesn’t spend on advertising but instead focuses on spending money to improve the products – counting on owners to spread the word.

Tesla investors have often suggested to the CEO that some advertising to highlight certain features and benefits of Tesla vehicles could be worth it, and for the first time at Tesla’s annual meeting last week, Musk obliged. The CEO said that Tesla would “try a little advertising” and see how it goes.

Seemingly because of the timing, several media outlets are reporting that this new video posted by Tesla on Twitter is the “first Tesla commercial’:

For example, Jalopnik reviewed it as a commercial, calling it “a straightforward and serviceable ad” albeit “long” and complained that it didn’t mention Autopilot:

Screenshot 2023 05 23 at 9.43.32 AM No, this is not Tesla's first commercial
No, this is not Tesla's first commercial 4

The problem is that this is not a Tesla commercial. As the title of the video indicates, it is part of Tesla’s “Drive to Believe” program. It originated eight years ago as part of a series of promotional videos featuring the experience of real Tesla owners. We have previously reported on it.

The videos are not formatted in a consumable ad format, and Tesla is not paying for air time, so it’s not an ad or commercial.

Electrek’s Take

While Tesla has never done “advertising,” the automaker has been creating promotional material and marketing for a long time. This is part of that.

The change in Tesla now saying that it will do advertising clearly refers to making ads that will receive paid air time on TV or the internet. This is not it just yet.

Also, it’s fair to mention that while Tesla never produced an ad itself, it had a fan contest to produce a Tesla ad before, which was won by the famous Youtuber MKBHD. However, Tesla never paid for airtime.

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