Tesla’s Cybertruck (reality ahead of schedule) ignites an earned-media tsunami

Tesla’s polarizing Cybertruck is either “the most ridiculous EV ever” conjured up by “electric Jesus” or it is a “stylistically breathtaking” design which will “will set the trend for future pickup designs” as it has “completely changed the vocabulary of the personal truck market” according to the legendary Blade Runner Art Director Syd Mead. Mead’s definition of Science Fiction is “reality ahead of schedule”, a label which can readily be applied to the Cybertruck.

The armada of YouTubers (fans & haters) and financial analysts (longs & shorts) who cover Tesla’s every move flicked their keyboards into hyper drive immediately after the event on November 21. Excerpts of the launch, in particular vision of the car’s side windows being “unexpectedly” fractured (but not penetrated) by a metal ball thrown by lead Tesla designer Franz von Holzhausen, dominated online, clocking millions of views. Whether engineered, spontaneous, or perhaps both, the video was primed for amplification. In the following hours and days, Tesla keywords spiked into official “breakout” hockey stick territory on Google Trends, blitzing the social media landscape, harvesting massive $$$$ in “earned media”.

As of Sunday, November 24, Tesla had captured 187,000 pre-orders online, essentially a place in the likely two-year queue in return for a refundable $US 100 deposit. Even if a significant percentage never transition into full orders, the number is impressive. Tesla’s Elon Musk was quick to assert that all this was happening with “no advertising & no paid endorsement”. Anyone serious about marketing automation knows what to do with tens of thousands of people who have paid $US 100 to complete an online form! These people have definitely opted in.

4 years ago