Traditionally Californian automaker Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] has stayed away from making official promotional videos about its cars, relying instead on the word-of-mouth advocacy of its existing customers and fans, as well some truly exceptional Tesla-inspired ads made by fans just wanting to share the Tesla love.
But in recent months we’ve noticed that change, with Tesla producing several short video shorts highlighting the AutoPilot features of its Model S and Model X electric cars. Simple and to the point, each highlighted the basic functionality of autosteer, auto park and auto lane change — the three main features which work together to make Autopilot a reality. These videos were followed a few weeks ago with a new one detailing the summon feature added to Tesla’s 7.1 system update. Even though each was filmed and produced specifically for Tesla however, none were close to being a full-on ad for the luxury automaker.
Yesterday however, Tesla uploaded two different videos which we think classify as full-blown ads: one extolling the virtues of Autopilot, and one covering the popularity of the Tesla Model S in Hong Kong since it launched there in 2014. While the two videos cover completely different subject matter and are filmed in different styles, they carry the same message: Tesla is ready to change the way you think about cars forever.
Despite that however, Tesla’s first video, entitled “Revolutionize Your Commute,” is closer in style to a teaser ad for a brand-new gadget than it is a high-end electric car. With not a single piece of dialogue, it covers a commuter as they prepare to leave for work in the morning, highlighting each of the main Autopilot features that makes the Tesla Model S the most automated car on the road today.
Starting with the summon feature — which allows a car to exit a private garage on its own and meet you outside your door — the ad then highlights the auto steer and auto lane change, superimposing Tesla’s active sensor system on expertly shot footage of a Model S driving in moderate rush-hour traffic. With an easy-listening yet purposeful backing, the ad does a good job of differentiating the calm inside the car’s cabin with the efficient and smooth way in which the Model S cuts through the traffic, reducing stress and improving safety.
The ad finishes by highlighting Tesla’s auto park feature, showing the car automatically parallel park itself in a side street, ready to allow its owner to carry on with their day. Like so many tech ads we’ve seen from established brands and startups alike, the viewer is clearly meant to yearn for the simplicity and safety that the Tesla Model S could bring to their lives, if only they owned one. That’s backed up by a simple call to action from Tesla at the end of the ad.
“Revolutionize your commute. Experience Autopilot,” the video instructs, along with a web address where prospective customers can do just that.
Offered as a feature on all Tesla electric cars made since October 2014 either as a build-to-order option or a more expensive post-purchase one-time upgrade fee, Tesla’s Autopilot features are still technically in beta, but thanks to the continual upgrade cycle used by Tesla’s engineering team are constantly improving. Those we’ve spoken to with Tesla Autopilot enabled on their cars say that the system has dramatically improved since it was initially rolled out at the end of last year, and many more say they now rely on Autopilot (with careful supervision) to undertake the majority of their daily commutes.
Unlike Revolutionize Your Commute, Tesla’s second video, entitled Tesla in Hong Kong, is a far more conventional car ad, featuring plenty of wide-angle shots of a Tesla Model S driving through Hong Kong at various times of the day. Interspliced with testimony from Tesla customers who own and drive a Tesla Model S every day — including Transport Evolved’s good friend Mark Webb-Johnson of the Open Vehicle Monitoring Project — the two-minute film is clearly meant to highlight the brand’s prominence in Hong Kong and perhaps encourage customers in mainland China to consider buying one for themselves.
Both videos are excellently filmed and produced as expected, and do a great job in promoting the Tesla brand on the popular video sharing site. And with increased activity on Tesla’s YouTube channel of late, we’re expecting more.
Are you glad Tesla is now producing its own videos and ads? Do you think it will help sell more cars? And what sort of videos would you like to see from Tesla moving forward?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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