Tesla doesn't spend a dime on paid advertising, but a group of recent college graduates decided to make a video spot for the electric car brand anyway.
The result was a minute-long ad titled "Modern Spaceship," which the Los Angeles-based creators spent $1,500 to make in November. The creators recently started a production company called Everdream Pictures.
The spot -- which depicts a little boy who gets into the driver's seat of the Tesla in his garage and imagines he's piloting a spaceship -- got them a meeting with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in January.
Tesla recently posted the ad on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts (a 15-second cut was rendered for the latter). Mr. Musk also tweeted out the video last week.
Just discovered a great Tesla ad made by 2 recent college grads. I love it! http://t.co/20dPRD9yrJ— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 14, 2014
While Everdream wasn't paid for the work, Mr. Musk also hinted at a future collaboration on Twitter. In response to someone who asked whether Tesla was planning on hiring the recent graduates, he wrote, "Yes, I'm confident that Tesla will do something with them."
Everdream is getting some traction even without having Tesla as a paying customer. Co-CEOs James Khabushani, 25, and RJ Collins, 24, now have a joint venture with talent manager and startup investor Troy Carter's Atom Factory, and they work out of his Culver City offices.
They showed Mr. Carter the Tesla spot in their introductory meeting with him late last year.
Everdream currently has 14 employees and seed funding, according to Mr. Khabushani, and they're set up to produce short- or long-form branded content. They've done video work for the pharmaceutical company Parexel and two music videos for the dubstep violinist Lindsey Stirling, a YouTube sensation and client of Mr. Carter's. The latter is set to be released later this month.
Behind the Tesla work
Everdream shot the Tesla spot in November at the Alamo, Calif., home of Mr. Khabushani's roommate's father, who owns a Tesla. The $1,500 they spent was on hotel rooms, gas and food for the 15-person crew. They already had the equipment they needed.
Mr. Khabushani then emailed the finished spot to a Tesla marketing executive whose email address he found online. He also emailed Mr. Musk and enlisted a friend's father who had contacts at Tesla to try from his end. Via one or more of those routes, he got an email from Mr. Musk's assistant to set up a January meeting.
"Kids like us -- as long as we have the cameras and creativity -- can make anything we want," said Mr. Khabushani, a December graduate of the University of Southern California, where he majored in business.