How Elon Musk could sell you anything
Recently the controversial inventor Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, sold 5,000 flamethrowers bringing in an incredible revenue of $10 million. Yes, real flamethrowers. Like any bizarre happening on social media, Musk announced the sale of the product on Twitter and it went viral very quickly. Prior to it, it all began with Musk selling his most accessible yet — a baseball cap labelled ‘the world’s most boring hat’.
The aforementioned products were sold through Musk’s latest venture, The Boring Company, and their goal is to create underground tunnels for a new form of high-speed transportation, aiming to reduce traffic congestion in major cities.
At this very moment, the enterprise has plans for Los Angeles, Baltimora and… Mars. Musk states, “I do think getting good at digging tunnels could be really helpful for Mars. For sure there's going to be a lot of ice mining on Mars, and mining in general to get raw materials. You can build a tremendous amount underground with the right boring technology on Mars. So I do think there is some overlap in that technology development arena.”
To raise some funds towards this project, The Boring Company in October 2017 began to sell a ‘limited’ edition run of 50,000 caps emblazoned with the company name on them. They sold out, raising $1 million.
It was only then a strange follow-up came from Musk, as he tweeted on December 10 2017, “After 50k hats, we will start selling The Boring Company flamethrower.” Since his first merchandise venture reached the goal, in less than 3 months, he kept his word and announced the flamethrowers.
In just 48 hours, the pre-orders were completed. 5.000 flamethrowers sold for $10 million
We probably will never know why the Tesla CEO chose such a weird item, but for sure we understood one thing, Musk is able to sell whatever crosses his mind.
His marketing techniques were already known to the public. Usually he announces a product way before it’s ready for the market, raising funds through pre-orders. Aware of his popularity, Musk built a mantra based on a simple concept — create the hype around the project, not the product.
Although it proved to be really successful for his latest venture, it gave a few problems at Tesla with their Model 3. It was revealed in March 2016 and received a massive pre-order of 500,000 vehicles. Despite being announced, the new car wasn’t ready for production and encountered many manufacturing problems causing a massive loss of funds.
Despite that, it worked for the flamethrower. Through Twitter and secondary products, Musk put his new endeavor on our radar. A company, whose goal is to bore tunnels to bypass traffic and still far away from completion, gained a massive popularity, thus bringing The Boring Company to the spotlight.