Tesla's Video Game Marketing Campaign

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Tesla has unveiled its new Model 3 and Model X cars simultaneously into both the physical and gaming worlds last week.

Tesla and Tencent have partnered to launch one of the most unique cases of gamification marketing to date. Tesla's stores, social media pages and YouTube channel made cryptic announcements about a campaign with Tencent in China earlier this year, it wasn’t until the full reveal came to light that people knew what they were up to.

Video Game Marketing 

The purple wrapped Tesla Models arrived from Gigafactory to a mall in Shanghai via an iconic PUBG crate with two themed characters attending in full gear. The total range of models is now on display across three separate motor showrooms around China, including the Chengdu motor show. 

Chinese fans loved the delivery of the new models via these large crates while the remainder of the world is left questioning the theme, with the words ‘Game for Peace’ inscribed on the sides of the vehicles, what on Earth could Elon be going on about? 

PUBG is a first-person shooter video game that is known for ushering in the new wave of popular Battle Royale games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone. In China, PUBG’s mobile game has actually undergone rebranding to be referred to as ‘Game for Peace’. This is due to both China’s government attempting to clean up violence in video games as well as Tencent’s inability to monetise the original PUBG template. 

Tesla’s PUBG marketing campaign allows for players of the game to actually drive the new special edition Tesla electric vehicles within matches. This marketing strategy is also referred to as Brandification, and it's as simple as advertising real world products within video game spaces.


Elon Musk, The CEO of Tesla has been vocal about getting into China for production of his new cars for some time now. This also happens to be where Tencent, the world’s largest video game creators, are based. 

Elon is famous for saying "Tesla does not advertise or pay for endorsements. Instead, we use that money to make the product great. While he may not pay for advertisements or endorsements, his eccentric marketing ploys certainly leave an impression. In the past 2 years he has:

The latest stunt of promoting his electric cars through the most popular mobile game in the world is kind of tame in comparison, yet arguably the most effective as the marketing material is positioned within a format that is regularly consumed by their key demographic.

Video Game Audience 

The demographic of average gamer specifically for PUBG is currently recorded as 36 year old males. The average Tesla owner is a 38 year old male. Thats within a 7% hit radius and a much more specific target audience reach than you could aim for on both Google and Facebook ads. 

A large portion of Elon’s target audience will be driving his car in a video game they love for an average of over 1.6 hours a day. If that’s not positive brand association then I don’t know what is. 

While older generations my dismiss the effectiveness of video games, it has become quite apparent that they remain one of the only mediums that can truly hold user attention for extended periods of time.

Tesla collaborating with Tencent for their latest marketing ploy looks to be a master move which will yield great results for both parties involved.

The Future of Game Advertising

As the marketing world continues to grow and adapt, we will begin to see a lot more partnerships like Tencent and Tesla in the short future. As consumer attention is no longer as fixed on TV as it was even just 10 years ago.

Smartphones and social media have been strong advocates for this change, which has lead forward thinking companies like Netflix to extend their product focus to video games also. 

Netflix’s special episode of Black Mirror; Bandersnatch, was a perfect example of the streaming service experimenting with gamification elements to offer a unique and engaging experience with their material.

As the marketing world continues to produce new examples of effective gamification campaigns, I believe we will begin to see a surge in gamification adoption across the industry.

If you would like to capture the attention of your audience I would love to hear from you. Fill out the link in the top right of this page, share your idea for a game and we'll get back to with the next steps.


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