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Home » Elon: Failed to Capture Tesla Driving Experience, Cut its 40 Person US Marketing Team

Elon: Failed to Capture Tesla Driving Experience, Cut its 40 Person US Marketing Team

Elon Musk

Tesla unceremoniously gave its 40-person US marketing content team their walking papers as part of Elon Musk’s scorched-earth cost trimming efforts.

Elon Musk himself took a massive swipe at the now-disbanded team’s lackluster advertising work, slamming their output as hopelessly “generic” and devoid of what actually makes the Tesla driving experience thrilling. “The ads were far too generic – could’ve been any car,” Musk bluntly ripped in response to criticism about Tesla’s staid marketing.

He’s got a point. For all of Tesla’s mind-bending innovations in electric propulsion and automotive technology, its marketing lately has felt pretty…antiquated. Lots of recycled b-roll footage, dull glamour shots, narrator voice-overs waxing about vague sustainability — boilerplate stuff that could just as easily sell a Toyota as the world’s most advanced EVs. “Tesla’s ads were often too serious, lacked originality…and focused on the wrong things,” one EV critic put it. “This is not the approach Tesla has taken in the past with its marketing, which is often very fun and unique.”

Case in point: Tesla’s most-viewed YouTube video of all time (22 million views and counting) is still an 8-year-old April Fool’s prank where they jokingly unveiled a “self-driving” capable of ramming into traffic cones and pedestrians for laughs.

Clearly, Elon wants his brand’s new marketing DNA to channel the same freewheeling. Because as he notes, the Model Y’s insane global sales success means marketing its advanced EVs as no-joke game changers is more important than ever: “You need to convey the thrilling feeling of driving a Tesla, all while informing them of the incredibly low pricing, great value proposition, advantages over ICE vehicles, awesome Supercharger network, some of the unique features they have (FSD for example).” Tesla’s ads shouldn’t feel like ads, should be enjoyable to watch.

With the ad team culled and Musk calling the shots, Tesla’s marketing is about to get a reboot whether you like it or not.

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