Tesla’s Secret to Success Using a $0 Marketing Budget


If you live virtually anywhere cars are driven, you’ve more than likely seen a Tesla vehicle cruising along your nearby highways and city streets. There is an undeniable draw to these powerful and unique machines; from their sleek, futuristic designs to high-end technological features. It’s part of the reason why the manufacturer continues to break record sales and reached a market capitalization of over $800 billion, beating out other top players like Facebook.

So, with all this eyebrow-raising success, you may be wondering what Tesla’s marketing strategies are: more specifically, what those advertising costs might look like in order to stimulate such incredible growth. After all, companies around the nation aren’t shy with their wallets, spending a total of $242 billion in 2020 on advertising alone. Surely Tesla took part in this spending, right?

Well, the answer might surprise you: The CEO of Tesla himself confirmed the company does not spend any money on advertisements or endorsements.

How is this possible? Stick around, because we’re going to walk you through all the genius ways Tesla’s marketing makes waves across the globe — without costing a penny.


Commercial advertisements on television are always a great way to spread brand recognition and boost sales; it’s why companies shell out millions of dollars for a few seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl and other major events.

But could there be something better than these conventional advertisements? Something that, perhaps, calls for zero advertising costs at all?

It seems Tesla has already figured this out for themselves. The company doesn’t purchase TV spots or endorsements, but it still manages to find a way onto mainstream channels and films thanks to its famous CEO, Elon Musk.

Some of the cameos he’s made include titles such as:

    • The Big Bang Theory
    • Rick and Morty
    • Young Sheldon
    • Why Him
    • Iron Man 2

Even if these scenes last for a few seconds, they have eternal impacts on how Tesla is seen amongst audiences. Unlike traditional brands that only appear in commercials to advertise a new sale, Tesla’s marketing has taken it a step further by becoming part of America’s entertainment scene as a whole.

This is not even to mention Musk’s unforgettable weed-smoking podcast moment or the infamously-absurd name he gave his newborn baby. His Twitter is another primary source of no-cost marketing, with the CEO receiving hundreds of thousands of interactions daily (as of now, he has 37.6 million followers). As such, most people see Tesla and Elon Musk as relatable icons of pop culture rather than a faceless corporation with no visible leader.


It is no secret that a successful advertisement must have a worthwhile product to go alongside it: a guideline Tesla’s marketing strategies have clearly taken to heart.

Ever since Musk took the company’s reins, Tesla’s priorities are focused on pushing the bounds of modern-day vehicles, primarily through technology and outstanding safety features. Even without advertising costs, these improvements have exploded in popularity due to nothing else but word of mouth in social media and mainstream media coverage.

Some of the most popular features Tesla has rolled out in the past few years include:

Feature Description
Autopilot Tesla’s Autopilot AI has made waves ever since its initial announcement, promising to change the face of vehicles forever and introduce the reality of fully automated driving.
Superchargers Tesla’s network of fast chargers are located in various locations across the United States, enabling drivers to recharge their batteries at multiple stops during road trips. Even if it wasn’t their primary purpose, these locations also make for great advertising! No matter where you go, you’ll find a row of Tesla vehicles lined up to be charged.
Smartphone App Tesla’s innovative app allows users to control their car with the push of a button, from locking their vehicle to setting climate controls long before they’ve climbed into the driver’s seat. How many other car companies can say the same about their offerings?
Touchscreen Where other cars offer small, unimpressive screens that contain limited features, Tesla went all-out by including enormous touchscreens on the dashboard. These screens make Tesla vehicles immediately recognizable from a mile away.

Besides being useful features in their own right, these factors are part of why Tesla’s marketing is so successful with zero advertising costs. They don’t need to buy a commercial or spend millions on social media ads to prove their worth: The product speaks for itself.


When’s the last time you purchased a product and knew why you chose it? Sure, maybe you needed it for personal reasons, but did you understand the company’s purpose behind designing the product?

Unfortunately, it’s become quite rare to support a company and understand its mission. Most automotive brands feel like nothing but empty profit machines, always striving for customer dollars with no real endgame.

Tesla, on the other hand, couldn’t be louder about its purpose.

With a goal to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” every purchase a customer makes contributes to a clear vision. From the beginning, Tesla let the world know what their stance was and — more importantly — stuck to it.

You may be wondering how this contributes to Tesla’s marketing; to most, it doesn’t sound like marketing at all. Look a little deeper and you’ll find that more consumers than ever prefer to purchase from brands driven by a specific purpose. This means brands that take a stand on social, cultural, environmental and political issues are those that will see success in the long run — something Tesla is obviously taking into consideration.


It can be challenging to visualize how Tesla got to where it is today by spending nothing on advertising costs. After examining the company’s unique and innovative marketing strategies, however, it’s evident these tactics are just another reason why Tesla will most likely forever remain a household name.


Author avatar
We use cookies to give you the best experience.