Branding

Is the Tesla Cybertruck a Branding Disaster?

Despite what you might think of Tesla, Elon Musk, or the newly unveiled electric pick-up truck from Tesla called the “Cybertruck”, it’s undeniable that it was a great marketing move from the company.

Everything from the anticipation that they have created over the years to the polarizing design of the truck itself, was a masterful branding and marketing strategy that still has almost the entire world talking about it.

So what was it that made the unveiling and the truck such a talked-about event?

What Is The Tesla Cybertruck

Before we get into that, what is the Tesla Cybetruck? Well, for those of you who have been living under a rock the last few years, the Cybertruck is the highly-anticipated electric pick-up truck from the American electric car manufacturer, Tesla.

In as early as 2012, Elon Musk spoke about the desire to build an all-electric pick-up truck with load-compensating suspension and comparing it to the Ford F150. In the following years, Musk continued to talk about the details and give updates about the project and possible timeline.

In 2019, following the Tesla Model Y launch, Musk released a teaser image of the truck (as seen below) and referred to it as being inspired by Blade Runner or cyberpunk style. This only increased the anticipation of the unveiling and the event was scheduled for late 2019.

Cybertruck Launch Event

The unveiling was held at the Tesla Design Studio, next to SpaceX HQ, on 21 November 2019. This was coincidently the same month, year and location that Blade Runner was set in.

The event was branded under a “Cybertruck” graffiti-style logo, which has been registered for trademark as well. This theme, along with the introduction and colors, etc, captured the “cyberpunk” theme very well and set the tone for the event.

The event didn’t go as smooth as Tesla would have hoped because their demonstration of showing off the truck’s “indestructible” windows both shattered as a metal ball was thrown at it. This wasn’t supposed to happen and had the media focusing on it more than anything else, calling the unveiling a disaster.

You can check out the highlights from the unveiling below.

The Aftermath

Aside from the media’s focus on the mishap from the glass windows, the response on the internet from all over the world was astounding. From polarizing viewpoints about the design of the truck to tons of great memes, the internet truly exploded over the Cybrtrk!

Now, as they say, any publicity is good publicity, that would certainly be true in this case. People might have been expecting something a little bit more conservative in terms of the design, maybe closer to the contemporary style of pick-up trucks, but that is not what the Tesla brand is all about.

Branding Genius

Tesla has been a disruptor of the auto industry in many ways since the launch of the first Roadster back in 2008. Since then, the company has launched the Model S, Model X, Model 3, Tesla Semi, and updated Roaster & the Model Y.

Although the last few cars that Tesla has unveiled, Model 3 & Model Y specifically, were disruptors in their own way, they were very conservative in design. The concept of the pick-up truck was probably the best way for Tesla to show the world what was at the core of the brand.

And they did just that. What they unveiled with the Cybertruck was so much more than just an electric pick-up truck. They unveiled technology, innovation, disruption, change, and the future. I have a funny feeling that we will all look back at the Cybertruck one day as the catalyst for how the auto industry completely changed.

The Cybertruck has also invigorated the hype about the Tesla brand, reinforced their brand identity and what the company means to the automotive industry.

Tesla’s Brand Promise

The Cybertruck is the perfect symbol for the Tesla brand promise. They are making the future available to us, today. Elon Musk started the unveiling event with the same sentiment, where he showed the “evolution” of the pick-up truck through the decades and how little the design has changed, and then proceeded to present the future.

Now I will agree that not everyone will buy into these ideas of the future and you can see that with the number of polarizing views about the Cybertruck, but this has always been the case when something unusual has been introduced. Many people preferred their Blackberry phones over the iPhone when it was released, but today it’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t have a smartphone and the Blackberry that everyone loved so dearly has completely disappeared.

I have a feeling that the Cybertruck will have a similar impact on the global pick-up truck market. It might take a long time, but in the end, people will get used to it, be impressed by it, start to embrace it, and eventually, it will translate into a standard concept that other car manufacturers will incorporate into their own designs. That’s my opinion based on the history of Tesla and how they have changed hearts and minds, and ultimately the entire auto industry, over the last few years.

The $100 Deposit

Tesla also opened up the Cybertruck to pre-orders with a $100 deposit and have received around 250,000 orders as of 26 November 2019.

Another stroke of pure marketing and branding genius. With this move, they have managed to get a rough idea of the amount of interest in the truck, the percentage of interest towards the 3 different model options and also create quite a bit of cash-flow.

Logo Easter Egg

The cherry on the cake is the Easter egg that apparently appears in the official logo of the Cybertruck. Tesla is known for their easter eggs and have a fanatical fan base that enjoys discovering and speculating about these findings. So it would not be unusual for them to do this.

According to many people, if you reorganize the “symbols” or letters from the logo, you can form the design of the actual Cybertruck as seen in the video below.

Conclusion

Whether you love it or hate it, the Cybertruck is here to disrupt and it is here to stay, and it goes without a doubt that Tesla has done a genius branding and marketing job on this one.

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