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What can Elon Musk’s ‘The Boring Company’ teach us about Marketing?

Elon Musk

 

Elon Musk is definitely a man who needs no introduction, engineer, inventor, magnate, billionaire, visionary… the list goes on! He is most recently renowned for being CEO of electric car company Tesla, and his aspirational aerospace program SpaceX which successfully launched the Falcon Heavy Rocket this week! Elon has stated that all his professional goals revolve around his want to revolutionise the world and humanity. His goals include reducing global warming, creating sustainable energy, reducing the risk of human extinction and taking life to the solar system through establishing a human colony on Mars. It is this amazing and eccentric desire that puts him in the forefront of the world’s influencers.

Back in 2016 Elon sent a tweet out to his 18 million followers that he was fed up of traffic as it was ‘driving him nuts.’ He followed this statement up with the fact that he was going to start a company to build a tunnel network under LA, and that he would name it ‘The Boring Company.’ Elon not one to hang around started digging a trench on his SpaceX premises in February 2017. The end game is to have a fully traffic alleviating network of low cost tunnels enabling rapid transport in areas such as LA, New York, Washington DC etc. But what does all this have to do about marketing?

For starters we shall begin with the name of the company, a name he attributes it's creation of, to his ex-wife British actress Talulah Riley, “The Boring Company.”  This is a name that not only explains what the company does, but also provides comic relief. The play on the word ‘boring’ is a fantastic example of great PR material, I have seen hundreds of news articles all using the word ‘boring’ in a different contexts, gaining exposure that he possibily would not have attained without the smart word play on the name.

The part that particular interests us here at BTC Group was his marketing ploy of using the sale of promotional branded ‘boring company’ hats to raise funds for his company. The hat is a simple black baseball cap embroidered with the company logo (a logo he attributes the creation of to director JJ Abrams!) Elon only advertised the sale of 'The Boring Company' hats on his through his twitter account, but again thanks to the PR power of ‘The Boring Company’ name, word soon spread, and it was featuring in articles across the world. According to Elon in his own words he was going to build that tunnel ‘one hat at a time.’ In just over a month the 50,000 baseball caps Elon had invested in sold out, raising approximately one million dollars through sales!

It is this combination of utilising his social media influence, the cleverness of the company name and promotional product marketing that makes this campaign the marketing masterclass it has become. Believe it or not he then moved on to fundraising through $600 flamethrowers, another complete success, although we're not too sure how well branded flamethrowers would go down in the UK promotional market!


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