Tesla Doesn't Need Advertising When It Has Famous Customers

Tesla Model X 2 photos
Photo: Bradley Horowitz
Bradley Horowitz's Tesla Model X
Tesla Motors has a unique business model in the automotive world. The company doesn't have a traditional dealer network, since it sells and services all its cars by itself and doesn’t go for regular advertising.
So how does one promote a brand without conventional advertising? You know, no print ads, no massive outdoor billboards, no TV ads, and little to no presence in current “modern” advertising. Celebrity endorsements are an attractive option. And they can be done in an even cooler way: you make famous people pay for a product and let them showcase it on social media. Sales go up, advertising budget unchanged, win-win for everybody, right?

It almost seems like that’s the case for Tesla Motors. Since its market launch, the brand has gathered a big fanbase and has only made desirable products. Considering that these products have a premium price, Tesla is like the Apple of the automotive industry. Everybody wants one, even if they appear to hate the company or tend to rant about the products. However, as Apple has proved numerous times, the most avid haters tend to become the biggest fanboys once they get a product of their own.

So someone at Tesla figured this out and started delivering the Model X in small numbers. By the end of 2015, just over 200 Model X cars were delivered. By making their first SUV a scarce product at launch, after the limited edition’s production run has ended, the guys at Tesla pretty much have got the advertising part covered.

On the last day of 2015, Tesla Motors delivered a Model X to Mr. Bradley Horowitz. In case you haven’t heard of him, Mr. Horowitz is an executive at Google, VP for Streams, Photos and Sharing. Since he’s so good at sharing stuff, he posted a picture of his new Model X on his Google Plus page. The post was shared publicly to a total of 6,513,981 followers. It was redistributed 12 times afterwards and got 480 +1s at the time this article was written. The comments section featured 38 comments.

Unlike a paid post, such as those made by some semi-famous Instagram users to promote some products, Mr. Horowitz’s post quickly describes the car and states that the Model X still has “quite a few glitches and bugs.

Apparently, the excited customer reports that the car is amazing and beautiful, and claims full confidence in Tesla’s ability to figure the issues out. The company is already hard at work at filing down the little bugs Mr. Horowitz talked about.

Sure, Mr. Horowitz isn’t a famous singer, actor or athlete, but his post might go a long way and interest the people who could actually afford a Model X, leaving the clothing and food promoting business to those seeking a larger audience. Exactly this approach makes Mr. Horowitz’s post even more powerful, since it’s clear that he’s not mindlessly promoting a product, but he actually believes in it.

The Tesla owner club includes a lot of personalities from the USA and the rest of the world. Famous owners include Steve Wozniak, Will Smith, Jay-Z, Adam Sandler, Demi Moore, Jay Leno (obviously!), James Hetfield, Jennifer Garner, Morgan Freeman, Cameron Diaz, Oprah Winfrey, James Cameron, Ben Affleck, and many more.

Not all celebrities have become full-on Tesla fanboys, as Hollywood Reporter notes, George Clooney saying that the Model S that he drove had a few issues that led to him being stuck on the side of the road. Elon Musk quickly tweeted a response in his trademark style, saying “In other news, George Clooney reports that his iPhone 1 had a bug back in '07.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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