Tesla tries new advertising effort, expands online ads

Tesla has been apparently dipping its toes in advertising over the last few months – and now it has expanded into a new medium, airport advertisement, on top of broadening its online ads.

Earlier this year, CEO Elon Musk announced a reversal of his longstanding strategy that Tesla not spend on advertising but instead spend 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. At Tesla’s annual meeting last week, Musk obliged for the first time. The CEO said that Tesla would “try a little advertising” and see how it goes.

In June, we reported that Tesla officially kicked off “a little advertising” with a few Google ads.

The automaker has since greatly expanded the effort and has tried about 300 different ads on Google:

Tesla seems to be primarily trying a bunch of different ad headlines related to pricing in the US after incentives, but the automaker is also looking at some targeted ads highlighting “built in Texas” and its vehicle safety rating.

Now Tesla also appears to be dipping its toes in a more visual form of advertising.

Travelers in Japan have spotted a prominent Tesla advert running on displays at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo:

The ad, which runs on an entire wall of displays, features Tesla’s Model Y, Supercharger network, and Autopilot features.

It shows a new willingness for Tesla to invest in advertising in specific markets where it has room to grow.

Japan is a tough market to penetrate for foreign automakers as it generally prefers domestically built vehicles, but Japanese automakers have also been reticent to go all-electric, and therefore Tesla has an opportunity to capture the market of current buyers willing to go electric.

It will be interesting to see if Tesla sees an impact from this new advertising effort in Japan and if it can convince the automaker to expand it further.