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Published on August 5th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Is Tesla Marketing Helping To Green Our World?

August 5th, 2013 by  

This article was first published on EV Obsession under the title, “Is Tesla Marketing A Home Run Or A Flub?

In the Tesla enthusiast interest graph recently created by Gravity.com, we got to see that Tesla lovers are actually not abnormally focused on environmental issues. One would think that EV enthusiasts would be greenies, right? Isn’t that what EVs are all about? Well, it looks like Tesla has resoundingly shown that EVs can also excite tech enthusiasts, business and economics enthusiasts, erotic dance enthusiasts, arts enthusiasts, engineering enthusiasts, and truck enthusiasts… to an even greater degree than environmental enthusiasts.


Notably, the Toyota Prius lovers did have an abnormal obsession with protecting the water, air, and climate we need for life on earth. But then again, the Prius (as well as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and most other hybrid and electric cars) have been heavily marketed based on their green credentials. That’s something that has not been the case with the Model S. The Model S marketing focus has been performance, awesomeness, “cooler than cool” appeal, and its high-tech leadership.

So, the question is, has Tesla’s marketing been a home run or a flub?

I think one can very confidently say that it has been a humungous success for the company itself. Sales are great, the brand has reached icon status, and the company’s stock has skyrocketed (no pun intended) through the roof.

But has it helped to advance environmental and global warming awareness? Has it helped to stimulate increasing societal pressure to stop global warming and keep our essential natural resources clean and in adequate supply? (For many of us, this is an important marker of success.)

I think Tesla’s marketing has actually done so, in a long-game and roundabout way. The first part of that is that it has greatly broadened the appeal of green tech. It has broadened the customer base of electric vehicles. It has made one of the world’s key clean technologies cool and hot. As many have said, it has sort of become the Apple of the car world. This is important since it opens more people up to clean technology and the push for climate action. If these enthusiasts see that cleantech and climate action means more Tesla vehicles, they see that as a positive step forward.

But it’s important even beyond that. It doesn’t just open people up to these things. When people actually change their lives in a green way (buy an electric car, start bicycling for transportation, go solar, etc.), they then start to identify with the green culture and green ideology to a greater degree (primarily, in a very subconscious way). This eventually turns many of them into green advocates… more so than just about anything else can do.

Most of the Tesla enthusiasts whose information was used to create Gravity.com‘s interest graph are actually not Model S or Tesla Roadster owners. There are far more enthusiasts included there than there are Model S or Roadster owners. However, most of the Prius enthusiasts could be owners — and, quite frankly, how many non-Prius owners are really Prius enthusiasts? How many were green before coming to the Prius, and for how many did being a Prius owner make them more green? I don’t think we have an conclusive answer on that one, but I would bet good money that a lot of Prius owners became more interested in green topics and began to identify themselves as green people after buying the car. And I’d also contend that the same thing occurs with many Tesla owners.

Long argument made short: As Tesla produces and delivers more cars, due in part to its excellent products and due in part to some savvy marketing, more people become green, whether they identify with that label or not. That’s important in and of itself, but it is also important for getting more people to identify with the green label and advocate for strong climate, water, air, and cleantech policies. 
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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the CEO of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he offers no investment advice and does not recommend investing in Tesla or any other company.

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