The Tesla Roadster Stunt’s Viral Marketing Success Broken Down

So we’ve come to a point in society where sending your product into space – with NASA bonafide celestial object status –  is a reality. Not everyone has the marketing budget to do something like this, however, you know me – always wanting to dive in and see how well a viral marketing campaign did for a brand. I think it’s safe to say this viral marketing stunt is one of the greatest to date and certainly had everyone talking, all for a company with literally a $0 marketing budget.

I thought we could take a quick look at the ROI in the short term in regards to SEO, social media and PR. It should be a great lesson for anyone wanting to see how the flow of information spreads and the value of “going viral“. Keep in mind that this is on the top tier end even for the luxury industry. Indeed, it’s a campaign that completely rewrites the book on this sort of thing. So, even if you’re running a campaign to go local in just your city, there are lessons to be learned.

There is a lot to be gained from a viral marketing campaign where most executives are just happy enough to see their brand in the press. If you look deeper you’ll see a myriad of KPI’s we’ll tackle so long as the campaign is successful.

Always keep in mind we’re looking at the most extreme end of viral marketing here but even a small campaign that nets you 1/1,000th of this is still a major success. Going viral is not something that happens naturally all that often anymore.  In fact, you have to work at it over and over. Eventually you’ll know what makes the journalists in your vertical tick, as well what your readers like to share.

SEO Value

Note: Keep in mind backlink data hasn’t even caught up with this campaign.

Since we’re so strongly involved in the SEO luxury world, we’re always after those coveted natural backlinks that help push you further up the search results. Now, a large company like Tesla doesn’t need to worry about SEO but the rest of us do. When you go viral, the impact the campaign has on your SEO is one of the best aspects for two brilliants reasons:

  1. You get a lot of referral traffic from people who are interested in what you’re doing and you can siphon these people into your newsletter and social media platforms.
  2. Down the road you’re going to notice a lovely bump in your Google/Yahoo/Bing rankings,  mostly with Google.

When the news cycle has run its course, you’ll be pleased to know that the backlink/SEO game isn’t over quite yet. Journalists can also be quite lazy and sometimes don’t link back to the original source. This means you’ll have to keep track of who didn’t link and then find contact details and reach out to ask them to add one in.

It’s quite a lot of work but you’ll find journalists will oblige when they hear from the brand. If it’s a really high quality site – think or Forbes – then I’d also get in there offering to provide a unique quote or other piece of exclusive content just for their readers to get their attention.

In The News


We all know of the launch because just about everyone and their mother was talking about it. The news coverage is the crème de la crème and it is what drives the majority of the backlinks and the initial social media chatter. Because these news outlets are so authoritative, it also takes only a couple of them to kick off the viral chain reaction.

We can see over a million results in the past month or so, but we can see the news cycle isn’t quite done yet. NASA announced that they have declared the Tesla Roadster an official celestial entity. This story developed days after the launch and has everyone talking all over again.

Social Media Success

Social media, of course, blew up and the launch was trending in days prior and following. The success of this marketing campaign was so grand I cannot even come close to tallying up a ballpark guestimate of how many shares and comments there were. Just from a peek at BuzzSumo you can start to see the reach it got – keeping in mind that these platforms are sharing it socially making it truly go viral.


This is a great time for your marketing team to jump in on the conversation and start interacting with the key players here. You not only stand to keep the trending going, you’re building relationships with journalists interested in your story, and that’s brilliant.

Another social media aspect to make sure you keep tabs on is Youtube. If you’re not developing video content by now you may want to give yourself a smack in the face. I noticed many huge Youtube channels sharing the video, doing their own commentary and so forth.


This again is another area for opportunity that your team can get involved in by offering the channel hosts to go on video, commenting from your brand account and, of course, sharing it from your end. Don’t forget that these people will most likely jump at the chance to engage with you as it makes their brand look more legit. Throw em a bone and see where it gets you.

Ready To Go Viral?

Make sure you subscribe to our blog to learn more about viral marketing in the luxury space in upcoming posts, as well read past articles on the topic. If you’re looking to do more viral marketing in the luxury industry for all the KPI’s mentioned above then you know who to call.

Ryan Clark
[email protected]

Ryan Clark is celebrating 10 years consulting for luxury brands across the globe helping them reach UHNW individuals online and off. He specializes in luxury digital marketing, SEO, PR and luxury viral marketing. Connect with me to talk about your luxury marketing strategy and how our services can help you achieve more this year. I offer a luxury gaps audit to determine where you're falling flat and where I see you can improve in your marketing efforts.   To connect with him online you can follow on Twitter @LuxuryBranded, connect on LinkedIn Ryan R Clark and read his column on Luxe Getaways Magazine where he covers the world of luxury.