Elon Musk labels Tesla’s advertising ‘generic’ as it lays off entire marketing team

The car manufacturer built its marketing team just four months ago but has already abandoned the endeavour.

TeslaTesla has laid off its entire marketing team just four months after it was created in a hasty reversal of its nascent advertising efforts, reports claim.

The electric car company had famously eschewed traditional marketing efforts but appeared to change tack in 2023 when CEO Elon Musk said the brand would “try a little advertising and see how it goes”, partly inspired by his purchase of the social media platform Twitter (later renamed X).

But despite a ‘growth content’ team being formed of around 40 people in the US, overseen by head of global growth content Alex Ingram and growth director Jorge Milburn, the entire unit was laid off on Monday as part of wider layoffs at the company, Bloomberg reports. A small marketing team has been kept on in Europe.

Adding insult to injury, Musk took to X to respond to a comment on the Bloomberg story, which criticised the brand’s advertising for being “too generic” and not highlighting what is great about owning a Tesla. Musk replied: “Exactly. The ads were far too generic – could’ve been any car.”

What this means for Tesla’s commitment to advertising in the future remains to be seen – but it is reasonable to assume that Musk, who once declared he “hated” advertising, has not been convinced by its first attempts and the prospect of any further work seems small.

‘Range inflation’ is a sign Tesla has lost sight of its customersIt comes at a difficult time for the electric car pioneer which has struggled with increased competition and an increasingly poor brand perception. Tesla has embarked on a heavy series of promotional activity to try to stave off competition from China and other US companies, something Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson described as an “intractable and often existential situation” for manufacturers.

Ritson also warned that price cuts are “commodifying” Tesla’s hitherto impressive brand equity.

“This very strength is now Tesla’s vulnerability. With each significant discounting event, Tesla could hurt itself,” he cautioned.

Its share price has been dropping regularly since December 2023 and while revenue has continued to increase, its profit margins have grown tighter.

Tesla didn’t respond to Marketing Week’s request for comment.