Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said the electric-car maker will dabble in advertisements, a major departure for the 20-year-old company.
“We’ll try a little advertising and see how it goes,” Musk said Tuesday at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting in response to an investor’s question.
Tesla has long prided itself on word-of-mouth among its fan base to market its vehicles. It has built a formidable brand without paying for traditional advertising on television, radio or in newspapers or magazines.
Musk said in a subsequent interview with CNBC that paying for ads could be a way to expand beyond its existing user base as the company grows.
“It’s worth a try and we’ll see how effective it is,” he said. “I only just agreed to it so it’s not a fully formed strategy.”
Musk has used Twitter, which he now owns, as a marketing tool for Tesla. The social media site depends on advertising as its primary source of revenue, something newly appointed CEO Linda Yaccarino is expected to focus on.
Musk told CNBC that some companies had pulled ads from Twitter after facing criticism from the social media site’s own crowdsourced fact-checking feature known as community notes. He didn’t name the advertisers, but said it cost Twitter $40 million.
Musk also said that he’s going to continue to say what he thinks on Twitter even if it causes some advertisers to abandon the platform.
“I’ll say what I want, and if the consequences of that is losing money, so be it,” he said.