There’s gonna be a Tesla ad full of lies that will play the Superbowl today, but it isn’t coming from Tesla.
After years of resisting, Tesla has started to advertise over the last year.
Recently, the automaker has ramped up its advertising effort with more ads on X and even video ads on Youtube.
It doesn’t look like Tesla is quite ready to jump into the holy grail of advertising, Super Bowl ads, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t be featured in one.
“The Dawn Project” released that it is going to play not one but two ads about Tesla during the Super Bowl LVIII:
Dan O’Dowd, a self-described billionaire and founder of Green Hills Software, a privately-owned company that makes operating systems and programming tools, is behind The Dawn Project.
In 2022, O’Dowd had launched a senate campaign in his home state of California, but the tech executive made it quite clear that he is making it a single-issue campaign, and that issue is Tesla’s Full Self-Driving program.
Under the protection of political ads, he invested several million dollars in an ad campaign to attack Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta program, with the goal of having it banned from public roads in the US.
Even though O’Dowd lost his senate effort, the campaign continued under the name “The Dawn Project” and continued to attack Tesla frequently with ads and social media posts.
Now, they are back at it.
Now, if you have been following my Tesla FSD Beta coverage on Electrek, you know I’m not the program’s biggest fan. I love what Tesla is trying to achieve, but I dislike that it decided to sell the feature before it is actually completed.
The delays have also increasingly made the path to achieving self-driving murkier. In my own experience, FSD Beta can be dangerous to use if you are not approaching it as intended, which is by keeping your hands on the steering wheel and being ready to take control at all times.
But despite all those issues, I think the Dawn Project’s fearmongering approach is bad.
It’s even potentially libelous. I don’t know how they can say that it “claimed 33 lives”. I assume that they are talking about fatal accidents in which one or more Autopilot of FSD beta features were activated, but that doesn’t mean those features were the cause of the accidents.
In almost all cases we have seen, it was eventually revealed through data that the driver was not paying attention. The way that The Dawn Project frames the Tesla crashes, it would be the equivalent to saying that all crashes where cruise control would be active, the cruise control would be responsible. It doesn’t make sense.
Now, that leads to one area of criticism that I think is fair, which is that Tesla’s driver monitoring is lacking compared to the competition. Efficient driver monitoring can help ensure that drivers are paying attention.
That’s probably a point that I agree with The Dawn Project about, but I don’t know that it justifies demonizing FSD Beta in a Super Bowl ad.
It’s also important to note that O’Dowd’s intention are not necessarily purely altruistic – trying to stop Tesla from killing children. It just so happens that his company, Green Hills Software, makes automotive software for driver assist. You could say that it is a competitor to Tesla Autopilot. Coincidence?