Elon Musk reverses course, says Tesla will advertise its cars

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk.Reuters file photo

Tesla Inc TSLA.O boss Elon Musk, who has never used traditional advertising to sell cars, said on Tuesday that the automaker would try it and see whether it produced results.

Musk said it was “ironic” that as CEO of Tesla, he now owns Twitter. The social media platform is highly dependent on ads and will soon be led by advertising veteran Linda Yaccarino, who he hired last week.

“So I guess I should say advertising is awesome, and everyone should do it,” Musk said at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas. “We’ll try out a little advertising and see how it goes.”

It underscores his efforts to shore up investor confidence in the car maker’s prospects at a time when rising competition and a slow economy has forced Tesla to slash prices.

Since Musk acquired Twitter in October, advertisers have fled the social media platform, worried that their ads could appear next to inappropriate content after the company lost nearly 80 per cent of its staff.

Musk has for years resisted the idea of advertising, tweeting in 2019 that he “hates advertising” and “We use that money to make the product great”.

But on Tuesday, he said many people did not know about the affordability of Tesla cars and their “amazing” features and functionality.