The “Tesla Effect” Via The Super Bowl



The automotive and energy sectors are undergoing a massive transformation. Just this week, we reported on breakthrough research that found “90% of [auto] executives surveyed expect battery electric vehicles (EVs) to dominate by 2025.” And another research study suggests that this electric vehicle future (in addition to solar) could actually halt fossil fuel growth even sooner, by 2020. It’s evident that Tesla is beginning to have a serious impact. This Sunday, another pastime, the Super Bowl, demonstrated the Tesla effect.

*This article comes to us courtesy of Evannex (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.

In perhaps the most surprising commercial throughout the game was the first-ever ad from Big Oil — courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute. Was it a ploy to divert our attention from carbon-emitting, gas-guzzling cars and (instead) remind us that oil is used in spray paint, lipstick and plastics? Or, perhaps, was it a ploy to show how “high-tech” oil is compared to its new nemesis electric vehicles? Not sure. But it was… interesting. After showing a car, the ad claims “oil runs cleaner” — ummm, not. And perhaps a dig at the Elon Musk reminding viewers that “oil explores space” — were they trolling Tesla and SpaceX?

Above: America Petroleum Institute’s “Power Past Impossible” Super Bowl ad (Youtube: News Touch)

In USA Today, Jack Gerard, the president of the leading trade association for the U.S. oil and gas industry discusses the ad and notes, “Typically, when people think of energy, they’ll reflect on how they go to the gasoline pump, or heat their home or cook their food. But the reality of our products is that they are in everything that we use every day. … So yes, this is a transition of thought, if you will.”

Nevertheless USA Today acknowledges that, “critics may complain that the 30-second spot during [the] Super Bowl overlooks the long-term risks to the environment of carbon emissions from fossil fuels.” Ummm, yeah!

Ford showcases one its electric car owners plugging in during its Super Bowl ad (Image: InsideEVs)

Ford showcases one its electric car owners plugging in during its Super Bowl ad 

On the other side of the coin, we see a radical shift from Big Auto, courtesy of Ford Motor Company. Their Super Bowl ad shows a Ford electric car owner plugging in — now that’s more like it! With narration from Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, the ad tries to position Ford as a future-forward automotive innovator. It showcases everything from its phone app to a steering-wheel-free dashboard with a heads-up display. And as noted in Forbes, the ad concludes, “We’re going further so you can. Ride sharing … Electric vehicles … Self-driving cars.” Perhaps this is a rally cry against another America automaker in Silicon Valley?

Above: Ford advertises it’s new Tesla-like abilities (Youtube: Ford Motor Company)

Watching these ads, it’s hard to miss the elephant in the room… electric vehicle pioneer Tesla. But, Tesla doesn’t do TV commercials. In fact, Tesla only spends $6 per car on advertising. Compare that with Ford — which spends a whopping $2,550 per car on advertising. And even though Tesla doesn’t make TV commercials, Tesla fans often make faux commercials that look almost as good as the ones you see from big ad agencies. Case in point: this recent fanboy commercial featuring Nikola Tesla checking out a Tesla Model S…

Above: Nikola Tesla has some fun driving the Tesla Model S (Youtube: Tucker Elliott)

True, Tesla does produce some of its own cool videos showcasing its Model S and Model X all over the world. They’ve even made a few for the Model 3. But they’re only used in Tesla stores and service centers, or, on their website. Still, we’d love to see one of these videos pop up during the Super Bowl. It would be fun to see Tesla stick it to the fossil fuel lobby and dinosaur-juice automakers during the big game. Maybe next year.

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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31 Comments on "The “Tesla Effect” Via The Super Bowl"

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Well oil definitely has its use, in cosmetics, clothing, or medicine, but thats just another reason why we shouldn’t burn it all.

And all of the can be done with bio-oil. The sooner we understand that we need to stop pumping oil up from the ground the better.

Nothing wrong with digging up oil and making great products out of it.

The problem is with digging up oil and BURNING it thus spewing toxins and climate-changing greenhouse gases into our shared atmosphere.

+96 million (barrels of oil a day!)

Yep! These lovely long chains of hydrocarbons that we dig out of the ground are very useful for making plastics, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, fertilizers, etc.

Some day our ancestors will look back at us and say “Uh . . . why did you BURN all that great stuff!?!?!”

@R.S, speculawyer

given the links between petroleum and cancer it should really be used less in any form but something like cosmetics with direct skin contact or possibility of ingestion especially.

like tesla and leather seats it’s confounding to see people who affectively walk the green line rather than fully appreciate or adhere to the ideals required to be truly green.

do we really need to get into the logistics or pumping oil and the pollution associated with it alone? come on, people.

Oil does explore space. Liquid fueled rockets are powered entirely from petroleum products. They either use kerosene or hydrogen produced from petroleum. SpaceX uses kerosene. While it’s not impossible to produce hydrogen from other sources it’s cheapest to produce it from petroleum and when you’re buying as much as you need to launch a rocket (hundreds of thousands of dollars worth) you’re going to buy it as cheaply as possible.

In the ad:

“Oil gushes art” – most pigments (paint colors) are made from petrochemicals.

“taps potential” – the plastics in the woman’s prosthesis

“explores space” – I already explained above.

The others I can’t really nail down, especially “runs cleaner”. There’s really nothing to compare oil usage in cars to. Oil is by far the prime mover for road transport, and even the things which amount to an insignificant amount of cars (electricity) are cleaner than it.

There was a 2nd API ad during the Super Bowl. I don’t remember it (nor did I remember this one) other than its existence. I thought it was telling API ran Super Bowl ads, says something about the political climate. But I didn’t really think the content was all that significant.

Yeah, those uses are great. OK, the rocket fuel is not so great because it pollutes but we currently have no other way of building rockets.

But the problem is 90+% of the oil is just burned instead of used to make great things.

This is quibbling, but hydrogen is mostly made by reforming natural gas, which is mainly methane. Petroleum is a complex hydrocarbon; methane is a simple one.

On the other hand, natural gas is — or at least was until recently — mainly a byproduct of drilling for oil, so it’s probably correct to say that hydrogen rocket fuel is a product of the petroleum industry.

Yes, natural gas isn’t oil. But despite the ads, this is the American *Petroleum* Institute. And natural gas is petroleum. It is right in the wheelhouse of this group and what they would like to convey.

Tesla pushing the insane button does contain a certain irony.

Poor guy, but yes.

That is all from the past.
For plastics we can use bioplastics made from biomolecules like bioethanol obtained from biomass like plants, wood and algae.
For organic chemical products, pharmaceutics, pigments, paints, cosmetics we have to move from petrochemistry to Ethanochemistry.
For cars we have to move from petrol cars to electric cars.
For rockets we have to move from kerosene to methane extracted from biogas.
Oil is the past and a major pollutant.
Oil is anyway absent on Mars as well as the Oxygen to burn it.

Sure, workable substitutes can be found for petroleum used for manufacturing, and so far as I know, that’s true in every case.

But it’s cheaper and easier to use petroleum. I see nothing wrong with using that natural resource so long as it’s not being burned! Burning it just to produce heat (in a heat engine) is shockingly wasteful, not to mention highly polluting and inefficient.

“Tesla only spends $6 per car on advertising. Compare that with Ford which spends a whopping $2,550”

I love this statistic because it probably annoys the s*** out of auto industry execs.

Ford’s ad budget is about $2.5 billion. Last year they sold just over 2.5 million cars. So it’s more like $1000/car.

Might be a U.S.-centric statistic.

Tesla can’t afford any Superbowl commercial without seriously increasing the amount of money they spend on advertising per car.

They only sold 76K cars worldwide. Multiply that by the average amount they spend per car, $6, and you find their budget is only $456K. With Superbowl slots starting at $5M this year, they don’t come close to being able to do that.

Maybe in 2020 when they have 1M annual car sales they can afford a Superbowl ad… of course, that’s assuming the price of the Superbowl ads don’t continue to climb.


Tesla is up to 180,000 vehicles sold.

I think he was referring to annually, 2016 in particular.

when insideevs sites a biased source that states that fossil fuel growth can be halted by 2020, in other words, less than 3 years, the editors should have sanity checked that reporting and concluded that the source that they were citing was junk.

LOL! You haven’t been paying attention have you?

Cambridge is biased? LOL.
And we’re talking about growth in oil.
We’ve already there.

“fossil fuel growth can be halted by 2020”

That’s just another way of saying that we may reach peak oil in 2020. And that is entirely possible, despite your pro-Big-Oil rant here, “no comment”.

It’s the other claims here, such as “90% of [auto] executives surveyed expect battery electric vehicles (EVs) to dominate by 2025”, which I find highly questionable indeed.

They’re claiming that the overwhelming majority of auto execs responded to a survey by indicating they think over half of new auto sales will be BEVs in less than 10 years? Even if they actually thought so, which I find extremely unlikely, most of them would never admit it!

Unless we see the actual wording of the question on that survey, and the methodology used, and that methodology had better indicate a true random survey, not one that self-selects for bias from responders, then I’m simply not going to believe it. That runs very sharply contrary to results of other recent surveys of auto makers and suppliers.

We should make a kickstarter project to fund placing one of the fan made commercials at the next superbowl. That would be something 😉

THAT is a brilliant idea!!
Take my money! $20 each is only 25,000 donors for the 30 second ad.

Mario’s moustache was completely fake. Very, very fake. Total disaster. Sad!

Imagine a world where everyone who lived in a city bought an EV. Can you imagine the Real Estate BOOM in our cities?

Actually, that would suck. Cities are dense enough such that between subways, buses, sidewalks, Taxis, etc., you just really don’t need a car.

I lived in San Francisco for a couple years and just parked my car off in someone else’s garage for years.

In the USA, there are very few cities dense enough, and with a good enough mass transit system, that the average person doesn’t need to own a car.

If you lived in Kansas City, you’d never make that claim.