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How would you advertise the Model S?

How would you advertise the Model S?

The best advertising most of us can do is talk about Tesla and show Teslas to friends and family, but I bet there are a lot of creative ideas about how to sell it more broadly out there in this community.

I have this idea for a TV spot called “Cure Cancer”.

Open with a CGI generic human body like a pharmaceutical commercial: “Cancer can hide within; silent, invisible, slowly killing our bodies.” Show transparent tumor overlay.

Switch to aerial video of a major city. “Our cities have cancer. Unseen, deadly pollutants. Silent, pervasive emissions clog our streets, offices and homes.” Show transparent overlay of smog and CO2 concentration over city streets.

“It’s time to cure cancer.”

Switch to video of the Model S. “Introducing the Tesla Model S.”

In text and voiceover: “416hp”, “265mi Range”, “89mpge”, and lingering, “0 emissions”. Switch to city again, show smog and CO2 overlay fading.

“The Model S, available now from Tesla.”

We won't see TV for a while yet. I think it might be a year out. Right now, we have massive backorders closing on 12 months from today. But I like your ad.

Oooh...seems terribly "dark." I would think that Tesla will be like Levi's were. I don't think there will be a need to spend money on advertising, but if so, I guess I hope they go in a more light-hearted direction. Their music is upbeat; I would imagine any advertising would be, too.

@bsimoes - Are you suggesting that Levi's doesn't spend advertising money? /confused

A drag race between the performance model S and a Porsche Carrera.

All you need will be beauty shots as it silently zips around the city, highway and country roads, music. blasting, pano roof open, and the driver about as happy as anyone on earth could be!

They should go apple style. They already did that with the stores.

I can't think of a recipe for a car ad that would be less successful then associating your vehicle with Cancer. You have to understand that people don't watch ads in detail they often do ironing or stir a pot and just get glimpses of the ads message, if you start with cancer and end with Tesla Model S it doesn't matter what detail you put in between those things then get associated. You need to show people having fun in it, driving past gas stations and wind farms, you need positive fun exhilarating associations.

I agree - no mention of cancer in the ad. Very bad.

@Stephenkamichi: And after the model S wins, seven people get out and give high fives.

I like the idea of a nice drive thru a national park. The S comes up on the usual RV backup with a Lexus, BMW, and Porsche all stacked behind waiting for room to pass. The noise from the other cars and RV quite clearly distracting the drive. Then when the smallest of chances opens up the S pulls out and passes all of them in seconds with time to spare, panning and catching the slow motion look of each frustrated drivers face as the S goes by. Off the accelerator, a little regen, then around a few sharp corners and we are back in the silence of a BEV. . . or should I say the sounds of nature.

There are the needed ads to ease the fears of running out of charge.
Something like two drivers meeting at a rest stop. The BMW (or similar) driver gets out of his car as the S driver is walking to his car,
Other driver, "Guess you needed to stop to charge"
S driver, "Nope, just stretching my legs like everyone else. I won't need to charge until dinner."
S driver gets in his car and zipps off onto the highway.
Later the S driver is unplugging in front of a restaurant when the same (other) driver is walking out after dinner.
S driver, "Hey there. Great driving day isn't it? Where are you heading. We could drive together."
Other driver, "Well I still have to stop for gas first. Maybe we'll bump into each other at the next rest stop. You got enough charge?"
S driver, "More than enough. This will get me home and then some. Most places offer it for free too."
S driver pulls out behind the other driver. Shortly the other driver pulls into a gas station. Camera pans to the $4.50 per gallon sign hanging in front of the gas station. If you look closely in the shot you will see the only pump left open has an out of order sign on it.

Sudre -- LIKE IT!

Pretty singing birdies and gamboling wildlife by the side of the road. Model S, pano roof and windows open, rolls silently by, occupants clearly enjoying the sights and sounds.

ICE car, with moderate engine noise, approaches. Birds fall silent, wildlife freeze.

Hawg with open muffler approaches and roars by. Birds and beasties nowhere to be seen or heard.

Cut to triptych, side-by-side images of the choices.
"Pick one!" scrolls underneath, then the screen fills with the silent Tesla, zooming in on the badge and model logo.

About that poisonous CO2; the EPA declared it a 'pollutant' without even a minimum of the due scientific diligence required by law, merely deferring to the "authority" of the IPCC -- a UN multi-government policy co-ordination body. Which systematically post-facto stripped all caveats and qualifications and contrary evidence from the "supporting" reports it was nominally based on.

Look again.

BEVs do not need an error and/or a lie to justify their existence.

Focus on the equivalent of $1 per gallon gas that we will pay for the electricity to run it. Focus on the lack of dependency on foreign oil. Focus on the creation of American jobs at the plant in Freemont and the green jobs that are created by renewable energy that can be used to power the car. Throw a couple of quotes from the press's test drive impressions up there on the screen.

This car will have mass appeal. Focus on the above and then in the last scene, use stephen.kamichi's suggestion and show the Model S outperforming a Porsche. A slow panning shot of three kids in the back seat watching the Porsche slowly drift backwards as the Model S accelerates.

@bsimoes - Are you suggesting that Levi's doesn't spend advertising money? /confused
Brianman--you're probably too young, but Levi's didn't start advertising until maybe the 80's. I remember it was a big deal. They had gone a century without having to. People were afraid that their favorite jeans company was in trouble.

! $1/gallon!! Why when I wuz a sprout, it was 25¢, sometimes less! This dang inflation stuff has gone too fer! I remember the gas stations had akshool mechanics and stuff there, too. And you'd a got wacked with a tire iron if'n y'tried to pump yer own gas!

Dunno what happened to roon all the good stuff.


+1 for quietness of the car combined with harmony with nature and the beauty of the car. And throw in a number of shots that demonstrate how far the S goes on a full charge to alleviate range anxiety. Winner! Need to go different than traditional ads.

Personally, and professionally, I would steer clear of traditional brand advertising. Social media, events and rewarding high affinity owners for their referrals is a lot more effective and a lot less costly. It is also disruptive of how the ICE industry works, so more on Tesla's level.

Specific strategeis and tactics? Well, as someone who works at a advertising agency, I'd have to simply suggest Tesla put out an RFP for an agency and just hope mine is on that list.

TM will need advertising in a few years when supply and demand begin to coincide. Until then, TM will enjoy the economic benefits of being a special order manufacture. Later it may have to begin stocking an inventory of cars like traditional franchised car dealerships. In the mean time, publicity from the press, strong word of mouth from Signature and early “P” owners will actively sell vehicles.

Not to be taken seriously. A stab at morbid humor, a la the cancer advertising. The Bad News- A young, executive is contemplating his/her demise. He/she goes to the garage, starts the car, and awaits the inevitable…death by carbon monoxide poisoning. The Good News- there are no emissions and it is made in America.

@ Electric Machete - I like the $1 gas idea. Image the image of a large sedan finishing their fill up and pulling away with $85 showing on the pump. Then the Model-S rolls by the pump on the way to the convenience store to buy snacks for the kids...... and the total on the pump "rolls back" to $0 !

In this first stage they don't need to advertise, they have enough exposure that they have a very long, very real waiting list.

They needed to get people into the cars and they've been doing that. They have the stores where people can get a good look.

The next stage will be taken care of by owners, giving rides and drives to friends, colleagues and even acquaintences.

Only after that would they need to advertise and the key is making the Tesla as an aspirational vehicle. To do that they can show:
- Performance
- Handling
- Quiet
- Vibration-free
- Easy plug-in home refueling
- High miles traveled at low cost
- No tailpipe

Show them what the Tesla is and let people's experiences and imaginations do the rest of the work. Just sticking to facts avoids alienation and pushback.

petero | August 12, 2012
TM will need advertising in a few years when supply and demand begin to coincide. Until then, TM will enjoy the economic benefits of being a special order manufacture[r]. Later it may have to begin stocking an inventory of cars ...

Yes, Elon, in fending off persistent probing by the financial writers, and those wanting "reviewer" access to cars, refers to having a year ahead pre-sold, and not wanting to increase the order book while the wait period is so long. That, in effect, means an even bigger backlog of impatient twitching reservists -- and we all know what a PITA they can be!!

So he expects to need to "push" for sales when the backlog gets down to about 3 months, and then hold it their while steadily increasing output and capacity. While it keeps happening spontaneously, all the "spend" will go into stores and service centers.

So, though Mike_P457 may wistfully ask for an RFP, he knows full well it may be long and long before any such thing is even contemplated.

typo: ...hold it there...

Some great ideas, but this is really premature. Thinking ahead, looking at the current backlog, and reservations for the still 16 months away model X, then gen III, I don't know how long it will take to even approach a 3-4 month backlog.

Some really great ideas here! To clarify, I agree Tesla shouldn't be considering advertising right now, this is just all for fun. It's very interesting to see how people view different selling points of the car.

I came up with the brash, and somewhat morbid, Cure Cancer theme by trying to think of what would overcome consumer Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt over a new manufacturer with a "new" technology (to the broad market). What trumps fear about range, reliability, charging access and an unproven brand? For us enthusiasts and early adopters, this may never be an issue.

One thing that trumps fear is more fear. Elevating the argument such that you understand there are worse things to fear than a limited range or unproven reliability; legitimate fears about environmental damage and a future for our children.

I don't like selling based on fear, personally. It works because its easy to communicate. Selling on merit can be much more difficult. However, in a TV spot with limited attention and time, fear can make an impact and inspire thought.

The fact is, there is some irrational, nonfactual, fear-driven anti-Tesla sentiment, and moreso there are just a lot of uniformed, possibly apathetic consumers doing the same old thing buying things like Camry's. There has to be some way to reach these people, right?

I don't like addressing anti-Tesla sentiment on its own terms, that is like endless trench warfare. But I bet people here can think of ways that elevate the discussion to a higher level, about the bigger, more important issues than just a new car. Because I do believe Tesla intends to change the world.

We need a great poster that kids can put on their bedroom or dorm wall. They can look at it every day and think "I'll have one of those some day!" The aspiration for kids should be a BEV!

Consider the responses and words of new drivers and owners. Awe, pleasure, exhilaration, amazement.

If you can't sell using those positives, you are in the wrong biz.

Next in line is the thrill of feeling superior to others on the road and in the parking lot. And of being the center of attention wherever you go. Not admirable, but not negative, either.

Well, it's no 'cancer', but here's one probably shouldn't be made by Tesla Motors, either:

TV Commercial/viral video: an approaching silver Model S becomes momentarily visible as it crests a small hill and then disappears. Two bass notes accompany it. It happens a second time. Shift to a side/overhead rolling perspective of the Model S climbing a slope, clouds sliding over its glossy surface like water. The only sound is that of the tires on the road, then the music comes back in with a rapid, predatory two-note progression.

The Model S closes in on a cyclist who obviously doesn't hear it approaching. The sunroof retracts, showing the 17" touchscreen, a male hand sliding back the roof and the Jaws soundtrack's album art on the lower portion of the screen. Cut to a side view of the wind deflector popping up like a shark fin while the crescendo from the Jaws theme roars out on the 7.1 sound system, through the open sun roof as the Model S zips past the cyclist.

Interior shot: woman in passenger seat shakes her head at the male driver who tries (unsuccessfully) to look abashed.

Exterior shot: The stopped cyclist is recovering from the surprise. He watches the Model S silently recede into the distance, with the only sound being the tires on the road as the roof slowly sinks out of view on a downslope.

Voice over: "The 2012 Tesla Model S. Drive responsibly."

Fine print: "Unprofessional driver on closed course. Do not attempt."

Postscript - "We're gonna need a bigger garage...."

Love it!

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